(The Center Square) – More than two-thirds of Indiana businesses surveyed by the state’s chamber of commerce believe the Hoosier State is on the right track.
However, fewer companies say they plan to grow their workforces within the next two years.
Those findings were part of the 16th Annual Employer/Workforce Survey conducted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its Institute for Workforce Excellence. More than 1,000 small-, medium- and large-sized businesses responded to the questionnaire.
For the second straight year, the number of businesses that said they were not receiving enough qualified job applicants to meet their needs decreased by 10 percentage points. Still, 52% said it was an issue for their businesses this year.
Jason Bearce, Indiana Chamber of Commerce vice president of education and workforce, said in a statement that it was good to see that number continue to go down and that more companies are taking a hands-on approach to address that problem.
“Whether that’s through skills-based hiring, targeted training or talent diversity, more employers are becoming a part of the solution as collaborative, co-creators of Hoosier talent,” Bearce said.
More businesses, though, are also less optimistic about needing additional workers by 2025. Only 48% said they planned to grow their workforce in the next year or two. While that is still up from 45% in 2019 and 41% in 2020, it’s down from 58% in 2021 and 55% last year.
The chamber said the survey results showed larger businesses were more inclined to hire additional workers in the near future.
But companies still have concerns about finding workers. Those calling it a challenge outnumbered other businesses by a 3-to-1 ratio, and 42% claimed it’s still their biggest challenge. In addition, two-thirds of respondents said they left positions open due to the lack of qualified candidates.
Nearly half of the survey participants, 47%, said they would consider employing people with physical disabilities, and more than two-fifths said they would consider bringing on non-violent ex-felons.
“It’s clear that a significant number of Hoosier employers are willing to and want to accommodate individuals who a few years ago might not have been top of mind for their workforce, especially as they are seeing firsthand what they can bring to their organization,” Bearce said.
In addition, 63% expressed support for extending the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a federal policy regarding illegal immigration that a federal judge ruled last month exceeded executive branch authority.