Regional employers are optimistic about the local business climate, but unconvinced that New York State is becoming more business friendly. This dichotomy is just one of the top line results of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s annual advocacy survey.
For the past three years, the Partnership has surveyed its membership to gauge pain points, areas of concern and obstacles to growth. For the first time, the Partnership is publicly releasing the results in its 2018 Member Pulse Report.
Six Major Takeaways:
- More than 80% have a favorable or very favorable perception of Buffalo Niagara’s business climate, but a majority feel New York State’s business climate has either not changed or is becoming less business friendly.
- Regulations are the top concern of local employers.
- As one respondent wrote, “New York State regulations are brutal. Federal regulations are bad enough, but New York makes it even worse.”
- While the regulatory environment is the most significant burden for employers, market conditions and difficulty finding/retaining qualified talent are a very close second and third, respectively.
- The fact that only a few percentage points separated our top responses underscores the fact that Buffalo Niagara employers are facing a series of challenges impacting competitiveness and growth.
- Taxes and labor costs round out the top five.
- Employee healthcare costs continue to rise.
- 75% of respondents reported a 5 to 15% increase in the cost of providing employee healthcare.
- Only one respondent saw their company’s healthcare costs decrease.
- 70% of survey respondents say workforce development is a significant pain point either right now or in the next two to five years.
- A clear majority is also struggling to achieve a diverse workforce. The number of employers identifying this challenge as a concern nearly doubled from last year. These results validate the Partnership’s decision to form a new Diversity & Inclusion Council.
- Current real estate/facility needs are being met, but clear majorities describe access to their facility as mediocre or poor.
- This means employees have trouble getting to their location via bicycles, foot or public transportation. This issue compounds our regional workforce struggles.
- Over the past year, 64% hired additional employees due to business growth and nearly 70% saw sales or revenue increase.
- Looking forward, 66% plan to add new employees and 64% plan to expand products and services in the coming year.
As the regional chamber of commerce, the Partnership uses the information from the survey to inform our annual Advocacy Agenda and shape our government affairs and economic development work for the coming year. Stay tuned as the Partnership will unveil our 2018 policy priorities when we release our Advocacy Agenda on January 11, 2018.