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Over Half of US Manufacturing Employees Plan to Leave Their Jobs in 2023: Survey

Feb. 27, 2023
Surveyed factory workers cite PTO and high-tech facilities as top personal priorities for their workplaces.

A new survey of factory workers by Austin, Texas-based business software company Epicor reveals that high turnover is likely to remain a major feature of the manufacturing sector through 2023, and that many frontline workers tend to see free time and advanced facilities as top priorities aside from wages.

In the online survey of more than 600 manufacturing employees, 56% said they plan to leave their current jobs sometime in 2023, sustaining the high turnover seen by manufacturing in the past few years. In another indicator that factory workers aren’t shy about changing companies, only 7.6% of respondents said turnover has lessened at their workplace, while 45% and 47.3%, respectively, said turnover was higher than ever or about the same as last year.

One of the top issues for surveyed employees, including those who did not indicate they planned on leaving their jobs, was available free time. 24% of all respondents said they would seek more PTO in a new employer, and 23% said they would want more flexible hours.

“Over and over again, respondents said they desire flexible work schedules,” the report found. “It’s what contributes to lifting their morale, it’s what they say can create a more engaging work environment, and it’s what they’ll look for in a new employer if (or when) they leave their current job.”

A slim majority of surveyed employees, 52%, reported that morale at their workplace was high. 25% of those respondents indicated that a “flexible work schedule” was the top reason for high morale, and another 22% said the #1 morale-booster was “more paid time off.”

Workers at the 7% of companies with the worst morale, meanwhile, mostly blamed leadership: 24% of those respondents said their companies’ leaders have poor management skills, and a further 15% blamed their companies for failing to address issues in the workplace.

Another priority for survey respondents besides paid time off and flexible hours was the opportunity to work in high-tech or sustainable factories. About 60% of respondents affirming they would take a pay cut to do so, yet just under 50% of respondents said their organization had made sustainability a priority.

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