More than two-thirds of respondents to a new manufacturing survey said recruitment is their biggest concern going into 2022.
Another 40 percent were concerned about workforce training, and about 34 percent were worried about retirements. Health care costs were also a concern for 37 percent of respondents, and 31 percent had their eyes on higher taxes.
Still, despite challenges, 77 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about the coming year, according to the 2021 Marcum National Manufacturing Survey. And about 80 percent were expecting higher revenues.
The survey, which was distributed to manufacturing business owners, operations managers, service providers, finance professionals and more, asked respondents to weigh in on how their companies performed over the past 12 months and what they expect in the year ahead.
A little more than half of respondents — about 54 percent — planned to grow their staff in the next year, the report said. Finding skilled labor ranked in the top three priorities for 72 percent of respondents. Other top priorities included cutting costs, increasing the use of and investing in technology, and entering new markets.
To attract employees, more than 80 percent of respondents said they planned to increase wages and/or benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on manufacturers, with 60 percent reporting lower revenue in 2020 than in 2019. And about 46 percent said the pandemic would permanently change how the company managed workforce safety measures. Some 40 percent said it would change how they manage the workplace environment, and 40 percent said they'd "do more with less," the report noted.
Respondents also expressed concerns around the supply chain, with 40 percent noting that controlling costs was a challenge and about 26 percent saw issues in sourcing raw materials.
— Crain's Detroit Business contributed to this report.