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2022 National Business Trends Survey Results Published

December 10, 2021

By Jason Rowe, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

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 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%).

This past year, hiring and recruiting has become increasingly difficult as employees leave for more pay, flexible work arrangements, or new challenges. When asked their greatest business challenges for 2022, executives ranked talent acquisition, talent retention, and cost of materials as their top three.

According to the survey, 50% of organizations have been hiring in 2021, whish is slightly to significantly more than was originally planned (compared to 20% last year). Most executives report that some to all their hiring is due to voluntary turnover (90%), and 70% report their hiring is due to some or all newly created jobs.

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. The top five responses include:

  1. Competitive pay 84%
  2. Good work/life balance 74%
  3. Flexibility in work hours 57%
  4. Vacation/paid time off 38%
  5. Competitive/robust health benefits 38%

Given the national concern of COVID-19 and employee safety, the survey also asked how organizations are working to minimize risk and ensuring 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. The top five are listed below:

Listed in order of the top 2022 responses

2021 % of Responses

2022 % of Responses

Invest in technology  38% 49%
Invest in equipment 37% 46%
Increase recruiting emphasis 40% 44%
Offer hybrid work for positions we have not in the past  30% 30%
Increase in flexible work arrangements 28% 27%

In addition, the EAA 2022 National Business Trends Survey breaks results out on a local level. Michigan respondents also ranked talent acquisition, talent retention, and cost of materials as their top three challenges. In fact, more than two-thirds (67%) of Michigan respondents reported that they will be primarily hiring and increasing staff levels in 2022. Most of this hiring is resulting from staff turnover and retirements. Michigan employers cited professional staff (non‐managers) and skilled production workers as the most difficult to recruit for in this market.

Michigan employers also voiced their opinions on remote work, with roughly 9 out of 10 stating that they do not see work from home/remote work/hybrid work as a serious challenge in the short-term (within 1 year) or long-term (within the next 5 years). Following the pandemic, however, over three quarters (77.1%) of Michigan respondents believe that they will only have few/some staff working remotely on a regular full-time basis.

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