Executives Expect Outlook to be Improving According to Employer Associations of America 2021 National Business Trends Survey
Surveys and Reports
PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 10, 2020 – In the just released 2021 National Business Trends Survey from the Employer Associations of America (EAA), 44 percent of executives expect the overall outlook for the 2021 economy to be improving. This annual survey shares information on what executives nationally are doing to address the changing business climate. Survey responses also reflect the impact COVID-19 has had on this year’s business trends.
When executives were asked if the overall U.S. economy in the next 12 months will “improve, stay the same, or decline,” the largest segment of respondents (44 percent) think it will improve, as opposed to last year with only 12 percent that expected the economy to improve. This year, 33 percent think it will stay the same (last year 52 percent expected the economy to stay the same). Only 24 percent think it will decline (compared to 36 percent in 2020).
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, 68 percent expect an increase in sales and revenue in 2021 versus 57 percent nationally. Kevin Robins, CEO of MEA, noted, “Employers in the region anticipate a significant bounce back in 2021 from 2020 where 50 percent experienced a decrease in revenues. This is reinforced by a whopping 90 percent indicating they will hire or maintain staff levels.”
An additional 11 questions were added to this year’s survey regarding COVID-19’s impact on business, addressing employee safety, stay at home/social distancing, work from home/remote work, interviews/training online/remote meetings, hazard pay/bonus, and candidates unwilling to work in the office/field. When asked how concerned respondents are regarding COVID-19 and its impact on business continuity (e.g. supply chain, financial implications, temporary shutdowns), nationally 52 percent indicated that they are “extremely to moderately concerned.”
Following are the top five measures that executives say they have been or are planning to continue to implement in 2020 and 2021 to address COVID-19 (listed in order of the top responses from 2021).
|Measures to address COVID-19||2020 % of Responses||2021 % of Responses|
|Deep clean/disinfect work areas on a regular basis||85%||72%|
|Enforce plans/policies regarding employees who become ill or exhibit COVID-19 symptoms while at work||84%||70%|
|Communicate frequently to employees about self-screening protocols||70%||55%|
|Increase signage regarding COVID-19 prevention protocols||77%||52%|
|Enforce plans/policies to accommodate employees who need to remain home due to underlying health issues||65%||50%|
Similar to last year’s survey responses, the top three serious challenges for business executives include:
- Talent acquisition
- Talent retention
- Ability to pay competitive wages
Also noteworthy for 2021 wage/salary strategies, 64 percent of the executives responding to the survey are planning to award wage/salary increases, along with 29 percent awarding variable pay bonuses for 2021. Regionally, 40 percent plan on paying variable pay bonuses in 2021.
Changing workforce demographics and abrupt workplace changes brought on by COVID-19 also impact the most important factors prospective employees look for from an employer. When asked to choose 5 top factors, participants answered as follows:
|Good work/life balance||75%|
|Opportunities for advancement||57%|
|Flexibility in work hours||52%|
|Competitive robust benefits||38%|
|Recognition and Reward for performance||32%|
|Remote work opportunities||28%|
Kevin Robins commented, “Employers seeking the best talent need to consider how to adapt to factors that are important to today’s workforce. The pandemic accelerated changes already underway and nimble employers adapted quickly. It is important that a dialogue be maintained between employers and employees to attract and retain talent and create great cultures.”
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 2021 survey saw an increase in participating organizations, up nearly 400 from last year with 1,484 participating organizations throughout the U.S. There were 167 responses from the Midatlantic region.
For a copy of the full report, please contact Maria Bonelli at 800-662-6238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEA Members may download the report in Member Tools.
About Employer Associations of America (EAA)
EAA consists of 30 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