Remote Work Quadruples from Pre-Pandemic Levels
MADISON – A new survey found that Wisconsin businesses are taking a variety of steps to attract and retain talent amid an ongoing workforce shortage. According to the Wisconsin Employer Survey, nearly half of businesses plan to raise wages by more than four percent in 2022 – roughly double the number that said they would just a year ago and a 12-point jump from January.
The survey also found that additional benefits like remote and hybrid work are far more popular than two years ago. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, just one in 10 Wisconsin businesses offered remote or hybrid work options, according to the survey. That number has increased to nearly four in 10 businesses – 37 percent – today.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) — the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association — conducted the survey over the last three weeks of June on a variety of topics. On Wednesday, WMC released data focused specifically on the state’s workforce.
“Even in the face of historic inflation and a looming recession, Wisconsin companies are still finding it difficult to hire,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “To attract and retain top talent, businesses are listening closely to what their employees want. That is why we are seeing wages rise faster than in recent memory and more companies offering increased flexibility like remote work.”
Eighty-five percent of employers are struggling to hire, which is relatively unchanged from the last two surveys. When asked, 45 percent said they could not find qualified applicants, while another 36 percent said the labor shortage in general was to blame.
Despite hiring challenges, 62 percent of Wisconsin businesses still intend to increase their workforce in the next six months. However, that number has decreased from 68 percent in January and 79 percent a year ago – reinforcing the business community’s concern about a potential recession.
“While Wisconsin businesses are still looking to hire, we are certainly seeing companies become far more cautious,” added Bauer.
The Wisconsin Employer Survey is conducted twice a year by WMC. The assessment provides a snapshot of where Wisconsin’s employers stand on a number of important issues and outlines their economic outlook for both Wisconsin and the United States. For the Summer 2022 edition, WMC surveyed 216 employers that make up a representative sample of its membership. Businesses of all sizes, industries and geographic locations in Wisconsin participated.
Last week, WMC released survey results focused on the economy. Additional results related to public policy will be released next week.