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business was 17 percent — less than half
the level of last year’s third quarter.
“Management teams are continuing to
focus on boosting organic growth, with
an emphasis on new product launches and
investment in R&D and technology,” Bono
continued. “This is indicative of the mixed
global outlook and overall moderate rev-
enue growth expectations. In an uncertain
environment, industrial manufacturers
are managing risk and concentrating on
strengthening their products and services.
They are doubling down on what they do
best in a quest to expand market share.”
The latest Barometer also showed that
hiring plans are on the rise, with expec-
tations reaching the highest level in five
years and the second highest quarterly
percentage in the past 10 years. The
majority, 58 percent, plan to add em-
ployees to their workforce over the next
12 months. Only three percent plan to
reduce the number of full-time equivalent
employees. The most sought-after em-
ployees will be skilled labor ( 35 percent),
professionals/technicians ( 35 percent), and
production workers ( 30 percent).
Despite healthy hiring expectations, the
survey identified headwinds in securing
qualified workers. Three-fourths of respondents cited a need to fill certain skill
gaps over the next 12-24 months, with
only 23 percent claiming to have all the
right skills needed at present. The biggest
skill gaps were in middle management (70
percent) and skilled labor (67 percent). At
the same time, half admitted to having
open positions that they were unable to
fill with skilled employees.
“In a limited job market, it is troublesome that three-fourths of panelists have
reported a skill gap, with half of those
companies acknowledging difficulty in filling these key positions,” Bono commented.
Regarding potential growth barriers
over the next 12 months, legislative/regu-latory pressures were the most cited at 58
percent. Lack of demand was the second
most cited barrier at 45 percent, but it was
down from 67 percent a year ago when it
was the chief barrier to growth. Competition from foreign markets was also high at
32 percent. Other potential barriers on the
rise in the third quarter included lack of
qualified workers ( 22 percent), capital constraints ( 20 percent) and oil/energy prices
( 28 percent).
PwC’s Manufacturing Barometer is a quarterly survey based on interviews with 60
senior executives of large, multinational
U.S. industrial manufacturing companies.
This survey summarizes the results for
Q3 2013 and was conducted from July
1, 2013 to September 30, 2013. To view
the complete Manufacturing Barometer
report, visit http://www.pwc.com/manufac-turing-barometer.