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Annual survey shows lengths manufacturing industry willing to go to attract new workers

Zack McCarthy

The Dayton Region Manufacturers Association released its annual wages and benefits survey last week. 100 manufacturers responded to the survey.

After 40 years of a decline in manufacturing jobs, the industry – like other local employers – is struggling to find workers. The survey shows the lengths the industry is willing to go to attract new workers.

On average, member manufacturers have raised wages by 5.5%. Additionally, many are offering a 7% increase in bonus packages.

Employers are also offering more benefits.

Some have lowered costs on the employee’s share of health insurance covered. Many are also offering paid time off, a 401k match, tuition reimbursement, and paid lunch breaks.

These new benefits come as employers struggle to find workers nationwide.

“We’re all competing for a very small talent pool. Every industry. Not only every manufacturer, but every industry,” Angelia Erbaugh, the president of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, said.

In order to appeal to this smaller pool, Erbaugh said that employers had to become less picky than they may have been before.

They began to take into consideration how people wanted to be paid more, the benefits that they wanted, and the need to train or retrain employees.

Manufacturers now not only need to have the skills of their trade, but the skills and knowledge to operate tools that have become increasingly computerized in recent decades.

“It’s different than 40 years ago,” she said. “Our grandfather’s manufacturing plant and work is totally different.”

Erbaugh said it shows the industry is beginning to understand and adapt to what they’ve been struggling with for decades. Employers are making the decisions they need to in order to attract new blood to the industry.

“I think that’s really cool and exciting,” she said.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.