AIM Survey Projects Highest Pay Increases in 15 Years
News February 1, 2023
The 2022 AIM HR Practices Survey leaves little doubt that attracting and retaining qualified workers has become the predominant challenge for Massachusetts employers. AIM members continue to struggle with labor shortages, exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19, that have impeded day-to-day operations. Companies across all industries, from biotechnology to retail, are unable to fill positions with qualified candidates as the commonwealth loses workers to lower-cost states.
The worker shortage has been developing for decades and is now reaching a point of crisis for the economy as companies curtail hours, decline to bid on contracts or close production lines due to lack of employees.
And the challenge is just beginning. The Massachusetts Department of Economic Research projects that the number of jobs in the commonwealth will grow by 21 percent by 2030 while the work force will grow by a glacial 1.5 percent.
Small wonder, then, that respondents to the HR Practices Survey identified recruitment and retention of workers as their priority. Companies are also willing to pay more for those workers – the average merit increase is up to 4.2 percent – the highest in over 15 years.
The good news is that 80 percent of companies that participated in the survey rate business conditions as “good” or “excellent,” a trend confirmed in the AIM Business Confidence Index. Companies also appear to be resuming a post-pandemic sense of normalcy – only 13 percent of respondents are concerned about conducting in-person training compared to 41 percent in 2021 and 60 percent in 2020.