National Business Trends Survey

Employer Associations of America 2020 National Business Trends Survey
Change in Outlook due 2020 due to Softer Economy

Employer Associations of America (EAA) has just released its 2020 National Business Trends Survey. This national survey shares information on what executives are doing to address the changing business climate, and executives surveyed this year indicate that they are feeling a little less optimistic. The majority of respondents (52 percent) felt the economy in the next 12 months would stay the same, with only 12 percent feeling the economy would improve, and 36 percent feeling that the economy will decline.

Compared to 2019 survey results, respondents felt more confident that the economy would improve (30 percent) and only 12 percent felt there would be a decline. The numbers from the last year’s survey have flipped in these two areas.

“Given the feelings about the economy in the next 12 months, it seems that organizations are taking a more cautious approach to 2020,” said EAA Board of Directors Chair Mary E. Corrado. “Despite reduced confidence in the economy, 49 percent of organizations surveyed still expect a slight increase in revenue for the coming year. The talent shortage will remain a key factor in 2020. Employers will need to implement innovative talent acquisition and retention strategies to meet their business results.”

When asked on the survey what are the top challenges to their business in 2020, executives indicated:

  • Talent acquisition
  • Talent retention
  • Ability to pay competitive wage/salaries
  • Competition in general
  • Ability to pay for benefit costs

A number of the Business Trends survey questions focused on hiring and staffing practices. The amount of permanent staff planned to be hired in 2020 is down slightly to 47 percent as compared to 2019, in which 54 percent planned to hire permanent employees. Respondents did indicate 65 percent were hiring in part due to newly created jobs. The majority (83 percent) seem to be replacing employees due in part to voluntary turnover. The increase in voluntary turnover makes talent acquisition more difficult and employers will need to offer more competitive wages and be more strategic when marketing for positions.

In moving forward with their hiring practices, organizations said the top five most important factors prospective employees are looking for are fairly similar to last year’s results:

Top 5 most important factors: 2020

  1. Competitive Pay 81%
  2. Good Work/Life Balance 69%
  3. Opportunities for Advancement 56%
  4. Flexibility in Work Hours 56%
  5. Competitive Health Benefits 48%

The top three reasons why it has become more difficult to hire employees in their industries are:

  1. Lack of qualified candidates (66%)
  2. Market competition/high demand (48%)
  3. Candidates want more pay than we can/will offer (43%)

With the national spotlight on pay equity, a few additional responses were added to the question, “How is your organization minimizing risk and ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local laws?” The top three responses include:

  1. Conducting internal pay audits: 38%
  2. Establishing/updating a formal compensation structure: 35%
  3. Conducting external compensation analyses to compare internal positions with the external market: 29%

In addition, the EAA 2020 National Business Trends Survey breaks results out on a local level as well. In this region, respondents identified talent acquisition as a serious challenge to their business.

“EAF partners with specialists in the staffing/recruiting industry to help our members find qualified employees in this tight labor market,” said Rita Manny, President of Employers Association Forum, Inc. (EAF).

The EAA is a not-for-profit national association that provides this annual survey to business executives offering insights and trends for business outlooks, business investment plans, staffing levels, hiring plans, job creations, pay strategies and business challenges. The 2020 survey included 1,093 participating organizations throughout the U.S.

About Employer Associations of America (EAA)
EAA consists of 32 regional employer associations serving 35,000 companies and more than six million employees. Regional employer associations are dedicated to serving their members as trusted partners that help members maximize the performance of their employees and their organization through business expertise in compliance, recruitment, retention, surveys, safety, training, and organization development. EAA’s mission is to advance a national presence and to promote local success among members through unparalleled collaboration, excellence, and efficiency. To learn more about the EAA, visit

About Employers Association Forum, Inc. (EAF)
EAF is a non-profit corporate membership-based association dedicated to serving the business and HR communities with world-class HR tools, hotlines & legal compliance, news & trends, surveys & economic data, benefits & insurance, risk management, training & consulting, and leadership & organizational development. Click here to learn more about EAF membership benefits.

EAF responds to hundreds of hotline calls and emails monthly. We would be happy to answer any interesting questions you may have too! Contacts us at or 407.260.6556

Ready to Join? CLICK HERE to Join now and receive 10% off NEW Member Dues!
Use PROMO CODE: NEWMEM2019 on your Member Application (cannot be used with other special offers).

I'm not ready to join, but I'd like more information.

Please provide your contact information below and we will contact you shortly.

30-Day Trial Membership

A trial membership allows for unlimited use of our HR Hotline, News of the Week newsletter, and discounted training programs...including free webinars, for 30 days! Complete the form below and we will contact you shortly.

Completion of a 30-day trial membership does not obligate you to join EAF. The trial period will not automatically renew and you will not be billed. If after your 30-day trial membership you would like more information or wish to speak with someone regarding membership, please contact EAF at 407.260.6556 or

Follow EAF on Social Media!


Employers Association Forum, Inc.
640 E State Road 434, Suite 3100
Longwood, FL 32750

Phone 407.260.6556 Fax 407.260.2876

Website Accessibility:

EAF is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. We are actively working to increase the accessibility and usability of our website and in doing so adhere to the accepted standards and guidelines.  As this is an ongoing process, should you experience any difficulty in accessing the EAF website, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


EAF provides information about current developments in labor and employment law. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Questions requiring legal advice should be addressed to the attorney of your choice. EAF members may be able to obtain a legal interpretation through our FREE Legal Hotline.