Is This the Place? A Survey of Utah Employers

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In a survey of 151 local employers, Utah Foundation took the pulse of Utah’s economy. Topics included what inhibits business growth in Utah, the best and worst of Utah’s labor pool, the availability of potential employees, how Utahns stack up against their out-of-state counterparts, and what drives companies to relocate to or away from Utah.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • Based on several questions, 71% of companies reported some level of difficulty finding enough skilled or qualified employees. 32% identified the shortage as the greatest factor impeding their growth, and 30% identified it as the worst quality of Utah’s labor pool.
  • A recent report from the Department of Workforce Services found that 68% of establishments are offering below-median wages for difficult-to-fill positions and 38% are offering wages beneath the 25th percentile, concluding that the shortage of skilled and qualified employees might not rest solely on the qualifications of Utah’s workforce.
  • While Utah’s population has a level of education slightly above average, its labor pool is actually below average. However, 89% of employers with an out-of-state presence indicated that their Utah employees had about the same or better education than their out-of-state employees.
  • One-quarter of respondents recognized Utah’s work ethic as the best quality of its labor force. Only 6% of companies with an out-of-state presence thought their Utah employees were less productive than their out-of-state counterparts and nearly 60% claimed their Utah employees were more productive.
  • 10% of respondents had entered into or implemented a major expansion in Utah’s market in the past 15 years. All of them indicated that given what they know now, were they facing the same choice, they would still come to Utah.
  • 92% of companies think Utah is on the right track. Companies that have existed for fewer than 20 years are 4.5 times more likely to report that they think Utah is on the wrong track when compared to companies that have existed for longer than 20 years.

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