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NJBIA released its 63rd annual Business Outlook Survey on Nov. 30. While much of the attention of the 2022 outlook survey focused on hiring challenges and employer morale, there were many other facets of the survey.

Today, we look at deeper at the employment and wages data found in this year’s Business Outlook Survey.

Employment
Only 13% of businesses increased hiring this year, while 34% said their hiring decreased.
 That net negative of -21% was similar to the -23% net negative in hiring in 2020 – although 2020’s low hiring numbers likely had more to do with pandemic-related closures and restrictions than the lack of available workforce that was well-documented this year.
 Prior to 2020, there hadn’t been a negative net in hiring activity in this survey since 2012.
 Looking to 2022, 33% predicted they will hire more, compared to 9% which predicted less hiring – a +24% net positive hiring outlook and 9% higher than the outlook for 2021.
 Wages Some 33% of employers increased pay for employees by 5% or more in 2021 – compared to 12% who increased pay 5% or more in 2020. All totaled, 72% increased wages this year – compared to 54% who raised pay in 2020.
 Businesses expect that upward trend to continue in 2022 with 22% saying they’ll increase wages more than 5%. A year ago, only 9% said they would increase pay more than 5%.
 Another 29% said they’ll raise wages between 3%-4.9% in 2022. All totaled, 73% said they’ll increase wages in 2022 – compared to 56% who said they’d raise pay in 2021.

While wages were up in 2021, respondents were mixed the notion of resolving hiring challenges by having to pay more:

    • 39% said they believe staff pay should only be commensurate with the economic value of the position and what they could afford as an employer
    • 33% said they now believe they’ll have to pay beyond the economic value and what they can afford in order for their business to be competitive
    • 16% said they always believed they should pay beyond the value of the job to be competitive