72% of Executives Project Economy Will Remain the Same or Improve in 2022 but still see Hiring and Retention as Major Challenges
According to Employer Associations of America’s 2021 National Business Trends Survey, Leaders Expect Economic Outlook to Improve.
PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 9, 2021 – In the recently released 2022 National Business Trends Survey from the Employer Associations of America (EAA), business executives indicate a fair amount of caution mixed with optimism for the 2022 outlook. Results show 31% of executives believe the economy will improve, and 41% expect the overall outlook for the 2022 economy to remain the same.
This annual survey, of more than 1,200 small to mid-sized employers, shares information on what executives are doing to address business challenges. Survey responses also reflect the continuing impact COVID-19 has had on this year’s business trends. When asked how concerned respondents are regarding COVID-19 and its impact on business continuity (e.g., supply chain, financial implications, temporary shutdowns), 65% indicated that they are “extremely to moderately concerned” (an increase from last year’s 52%).
MidAtlantic Employers’ Association (MEA) was a participant in the survey and supports employers in MD, NJ, DE, PA and NY. The sentiment on the economy for regional employers was similar to national results; however, 74% expect an increase in sales and revenue in 2022 versus 71% nationally. Kevin Robins, CEO of MEA, noted, “To keep up with the growth, 53% hired more employees than they planned at the beginning of the year, and a whopping 74% plan to increase staff levels in 2022. 85% indicated that it has become more difficult to hire talent.”
The top business challenges both nationally and regionally continue to be (national rank):
- Talent acquisition
- Talent retention
- Cost of materials
- Ability to pay competitive wages
With talent being such a critical factor, executives were asked what they thought were the top five most important factors prospective employees are looking for. Nationally, the top responses include:
- Competitive pay: 84%
- Good work/life balance: 74%
- Flexibility in work hours: 57%
- Vacation/paid time off: 38%
- Competitive/robust health benefits: 38%
Regionally, the responses were similar with remote work a close sixth place. Given the national concern of COVID-19 and employee safety, the survey also asked how organizations are working to minimize risk and ensure compliance with federal, state and local laws. The top two responses were: providing face masks for employees in the workplace (56%) and encouraging employees to get vaccinated (not required) (52%).
The survey also asked what the top measures are that executives have been or are planning to continue to implement in 2021 and 2022 to strengthen business results. Regionally, the top five are listed below:
|Listed in order of the top 2022 responses||2021 % of Responses||2022 % of Responses|
|Invest in technology||41%||57%|
|Invest in equipment||33%||44%|
|Increase recruiting emphasis||38%||44%|
|Offer hybrid work for positions we have not in the past||35%||33%|
|Increase training budget||15%||32%|
“I think you see employers aggressively moving to use technology more in the face of labor shortages and also looking to significantly change work practices like hybrid and flexible work schedules to attract and retain talent,” Kevin Robins observed. “Finally, we expect a significant uptick in training and development to arm their managers and leaders with the skills needed to succeed. With the tumultuous last two years, this is overdue.”
The EAA is a nonprofit national association that provides this annual survey to business executives offering insights and trends for business outlooks, business investment plans, staffing levels, hiring plans, job creation, pay strategies and business challenges. The 2022 survey had 1,216 participants including 210 from the region served by MEA.
About Employer Associations of America (EAA)
EAA consists of 29 regional employer associations serving 35,000 companies and more than six million employees. Regional employer associations are dedicated to serving their members as trusted partners that help members maximize the performance of their employees and their organization through business expertise in compliance, recruitment, retention, surveys, safety, training, and organization development. EAA’s mission is to advance a national presence and to promote local success among members through unparalleled collaboration, excellence, and efficiency. Learn More
About MidAtlantic Employers’ Association (MEA)
MEA supports more than 600 employers in the Midatlantic region. Employers know their employees are their greatest asset and the better their people, the better their business. As a non-profit, membership organization, MEA helps Members grow for the long term. Today, MEA helps its member companies with employment law and compliance, training and development, HR services, recruiting, staffing and retention strategies and offers a suite of assessment tools as a Certified Partner of The Predictive Index. Learn More