In December 2022, Forbes, Xometry and Zogby conducted a follow-up poll. The survey took the pulse of manufacturing executives within the industry. During the months between the August 2022 survey and the newest survey in December 2022, polling results show 95% of manufacturing executives are optimistic about what is going on in the industry.

Increased Confidence

Comments from the manufacturing executives surveyed in the Dec. 2022 poll ranged from 60% seeing the industry having a “bright future” to 35% saying they see a “light at the end of the tunnel.” Such sentiments are indeed significant when you consider the overarching themes of the last three+ years continue to plague individuals and the industry alike. This includes continuing concerns about COVID-19 and related restrictions, ongoing supply chain issues and creeping recessionary costs that are impacting consumers and businesses alike across the board. Despite these issues, the executives surveyed registered a slight drop in their collective recessionary fears from 92% in August down to 87% in December.

Differing Approach

While much of the Forbes survey indicated a united perspective among those surveyed, there were other areas where those surveyed claimed a different approach. That is particularly true when it comes to hiring. Some of the executives surveyed are moving ahead with a growth mindset while 44% are on the opposite side, considering cuts/layoffs. The need to make staffing reductions is, not surprisingly, more prevalent among smaller companies than those in larger institutions. That said, more than half (52%) have a plan to hire this year and another 36% look to remain at current staffing levels.

One area where manufacturing executives do agree is in the need to raise prices. 89% will likely raise prices and 54% will definitely raise prices. The predicted percentage of the price hike could range between 5% and 15% with others considering a price increase of as much as 20%. These increases could be used to help offset the need to increase wages to attract and retain employees. 77% were using incentives for this purpose in the form of gift cards, gym memberships, cash and bonuses. Such a hiring gap has long been an issue in the industry, and without resolution, the manufacturing industry could be looking at 2.1 million unfilled jobs by the year 2030, thus continuing to fuel the manufacturing gap in hiring.

While this positivity is certainly good news, it will be up to the individuals and the business owners within the industry to, once again, make the most of what they have.