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By Sydney Byerly

TheStatehouseFile.com

November 1, 2023

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce annual workforce survey finds that finding and retaining talented workers remains employers biggest challenge, but 68% say Indiana is headed in the right direction.

More than a thousand employers responded to the 16th annual survey published in October 2023, with 75% of the responses coming from company owners and management.

The survey asked employers about future investments in automation and artificial intelligence, factors impacting their talent attraction and retention, as well as employee training programs.

While 42% of employers indicated that finding and retaining talent was their biggest challenge, that number was 10% lower than last year.

Also, the number of employers reporting that the number of qualified applicants do not meet their needs dropped significantly from the last two years—72% in 2021 to 62% in 2022 and 52% in 2023.

Among the factors negatively impacting the attraction and retention of talent, the top two were child care and housing with transportation following. A majority of the employers, 52%, say they are offering flexible schedules to attract workers as well as paid maternity and paternity leave.

Inflation and other economic factors were the next highest selection with 9% seeing these workforce challenges as an issue.

The survey indicates that this could also be attributed to how 48% of companies surveyed indicated they don’t currently have HR staff dedicated to strategic talent attraction and retention.

Jason Bearce, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce vice president of education and workforce, said in a press release, “It’s heartening to see fewer employers report the lack of high-caliber talent.”

“It’s also fair to say that’s in part because employers increasingly are stepping up to proactively tackle their workforce needs,” Bearce said. “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.”

However, a third of employers indicated that their company had left a “significant” or “notable” amount of jobs unfilled last year because they could not find qualified applicants. An additional 37% said they left a “small” number of jobs unfilled which brings the total to nearly 70% of employers leaving jobs unfilled.

The survey also asked employers about the likelihood of changing their hiring strategies or utilizing more technology to supplement their workforce.

A total of 67% of employers surveyed said they hire or are interested in hiring based on competency skills versus education level and years of experience.

As for investing in automation and artificial intelligence over the next five years, the survey respondents were almost evenly split. While 43% said, they are likely to consider investing, another 39% said they were unlikely to spend on automaton or AI and 17% remain undecided.

Bearce said the number of businesses remaining optimistic about Indiana in general being almost 70%, which is much higher than the 39% of respondents that agreed in the Indiana Business for Responsive Government’s poll. The Indiana Business for Responsive Government is the chamber’s political action committee.

Sydney Byerly is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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