Business Trend Survey by Employers Association Shows Region’s Outlook on Talent, Training, Salary, Staffing and More

LINCOLN, RI — With close to 900 members concentrated in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the Employers Association of the NorthEast today unveiled the regional findings from the 2015 National Business Trends Survey conducted by the Employer Associations of America. The survey covers trends in staff, hiring, job creation, pay, and beyond.

“Despite strong continued optimism for 2015, employers are keenly aware of short- and long-term competition and talent challenges looming ahead,” states Meredith Wise, who is both Chair of the Board of the national Employer Associations of America and President of the Employers Association of the NorthEast. “The survey allows executives to make data-driven decisions and provides detailed information on how other executives plan to approach their business in 2015. Here in the northeast, the results reflect a tempered but cautious optimism of the region.”
Executives in New England and throughout the northeast are as optimistic about a positive outlook for 2015 as the national trends, with 53% believing the 2015 economy would be at least the same as the 2014 economy and 41% thinking it would be better. Other key findings include:
Staffing on the rise but not as strong

Despite the less favorable economic outlook regionally, regional executives are still expected to add staff in 2015 at or above the national projected staffing levels. The numbers show that 57% surveyed intend to increase staff in 2015, versus only 52% nationally who indicated they would add staff in 2015. However, the 57% rate figure represents a slight decline regionally from the 2014 outlook which saw 59% of respondents indicate they would add staff during the 2014 year.

Vast majority to award wage/salary increases:
Consistent with the trend nationally, 81% of executives responding to the survey plan to award wage/salary increases in 2015 (which was comparable to 78% of survey respondents nationally who had indicated that they would be doing the same).

Training remains a priority:
58% of regional respondents indicated they will be providing additional training and development to their existing workforce, a slight increase from the 56% figure in last year’s survey and identical to the 58% rate noted nationally.

Skilled labor remains greatest challenge:
Investment in both pay and training is a reflection of the need to retain key talent as regional respondents noted skilled labor shortage as the greatest “serious” challenge both short-term (over the next year) and long-term (over the next 5 years) for their businesses.

For over 100 years, the Employers Association of the NorthEast (EANE) has provided resources for organizations to maximize employee engagement and retention while minimizing risk.

The Employer Associations of America (EAA) consists of 33 regional employer associations that serve 35,000 companies and more than six million employees.

A total of 1,417 companies, covering locations in all 50 states, were surveyed in October/November 2014 representing companies of all sizes: 1-99 employees (53%), 100-249 employees (27%), 250-499 employees (12%), 500-999 employees (4%), and 1,000+ employees (4%).

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