York County Economic Development Publishes their Third Annual Wage and Benefit Survey
The 2019 York County Wage & Benefit Survey has been concluded, and the results tell us all about our community’s current economic situation. This is the third year that York County Economic Development has facilitated this survey, so we now have 2 other years to compare with. This allows us to get a birds-eye view of where our economy is headed.
Before getting into the big takeaways of this survey, a few things should be said. First, this survey was sent via email to 159 York county employers in April of this year. 65 of these companies participated; in total, more than 9,500 employees were represented. Second, manufacturing and warehouse operations were the primary targets. These types of companies/facilities are a major part of our local economy, so they are a good place to look to see current workforce trends. Finally, the survey focused on facilities with 10 or more employees. Any smaller than that could open up the survey to too many inconsistencies and variables since regulations are less strict for businesses of that size.
The first highlight of this survey is in the category of company size. This year’s survey showed that 64% of companies have fewer than 100 employees. However, the 5% of companies with over 500 employees represent 30% of total employees. This shows that, while most of our manufacturing and distribution companies are small-to-medium in size, a large percentage of employees are concentrated in the biggest companies.
The next point we’ll look at is wages. Most of the occupations the survey looked at had wage increases in the last year. The largest jumps are seen in Industrial Maintenance, Machine Operators, Welders, and Warehouse Managers.
Despite wage increases year-over-year, the rate of increase is slowing down overall. Average wage increase in 2017 was 3.0%, and it has steadily dropped each year since then. If things keep up at this rate, wages could stagnate.
In all, York County Economic Development saw that most of these companies offered a variety of benefits to their employees. The most common benefits in York County manufacturing and distribution companies are dental insurance, paid holiday/vacation leave, and health insurance.
Those most common benefits are fairly represented in the “Top Benefits to Recruit, Hire, and Retain Employees” section. Most employees want paid or vacation leave, health insurance, and a retirement or pension plan. Other benefits are often of great importance to employees as well, but these three are seen as necessary by many. This is important to note in a time when many temporary/contract workers are not getting any of these benefits.
In 2019, we are seeing lower turnover across-the-board in manufacturing and distribution than in 2018. Company/facility-wide, average turnover is 10% as opposed to 12% last year. The amount of open positions has also decreased, likely due to more employees sticking with their companies. However, there are still many jobs available in total because of how many of these companies call our area home.
Training is important for creating a capable and effective workforce, not just in your company, but in the community as a whole. This year, only 26% of employers actively invested in worker training programs as opposed to 30% last year. This is not an ongoing downward trend, but it could become one if nothing changes. It seems part of this decrease is because of the type of training employers offer. Instead of spending their budget training new workers, employers are spending an average of 51% of their training budget on remedial or “soft skills.”
As you can see in the word cloud below, most of the skills employees need training in are skills like using a computer, communication, and general soft skills. Soft skills allow workers to get along with, communicate, and do their job efficiently alongside their coworkers and are more common to be lacking than hard skills.
This survey is extremely necessary to our growing and changing economy, so we are grateful to York County Economic Development for facilitating it. The results of this year’s survey show a growing local economy that’s investing in workers with training and benefits, which decreases employee turnover. On the other hand, some work needs to be done to catch York County up with national averages for wages, which are still low across industries.
For a more detailed look at the 2019 York County Wage & Benefit Survey, click here and see the full presentation.
If you are looking for a job in manufacturing , check out our Employer Spotlight on that industry.