Survey: Manufacturers expect to boost salaries, hiring

Economy remains top barrier to growth


Last updated on July 7th, 2019 at 02:21 pm

A majority of manufacturers plan to increase salaries in 2017 and nearly half expect to increase their staff levels, according to a survey by Milwaukee-based ASQ, a global quality organization.


The survey found 74 percent of respondents expect salary increases in 2017, up from 61 percent in 2016.

Manufacturing wages haven’t grown as fast as those in the private sector overall during the past five years. Nationally, average annual wages increased by 10.6 percent between 2011 and 2015, while manufacturing was up 8.6 percent, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private sector wages were up 11.3 percent in Wisconsin during that period, while manufacturing wages were up 7.7 percent.

The ASQ survey found 46 percent of manufacturers expect their company to increase staff in 2017, up from 37 percent last year.

Employment in the manufacturing industry has struggled in 2016, even as the overall economy has added jobs.

The ASQ survey included more than 1,125 manufacturing professionals from around the world. It was conducted online in November and December. Industries represented included aerospace, automotive, food, medical devices and more.

Respondents were generally upbeat about their companies’ revenue forecasts heading into 2017. Nearly 72 percent said they expect to see topline growth in 2017, compared to 65 percent heading into 2016. The current year also appears to have outperformed expectations for some, with 69 percent saying their company increased revenue this year.

More than one-third, 36 percent, said the economy would be the biggest hurdle for their organization this year, although that figure was down from 40 percent last year.

Roughly 30 percent said a shortage of skilled workers was the top challenge and 15 percent said regulatory issues were at the top of the list.

Uncertainty about the direction of policy under President-elect Donald Trump, global trade issues and decreased demand for products were other areas of concern.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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