In its second year, the report took a deeper look at the business climate in the Northwest by adding employees' perspectives. While employees and business leaders disagree on some business and workforce issues, both groups want the Northwest to be a great place for families and they want to drive growth and help local communities.
"I've never been more excited for the Northwest's growth potential and the opportunity we have to bring prosperity to people across our region," said Carson College dean Chip Hunter. "Data from this year's report can help drive impactful conversations with the Northwest business community to address some of our region's most pressing issues."
The survey also found business leaders in the region feel even more confident than last year about the business climate in the Northwest. While many business leaders and employees attribute the strengthening business climate to advances in technology, they also see growing opportunity in the marijuana industry and wine production.
Key findings from the 2019 report include:
Growing optimism: This year, 61% of business leaders feel the business climate is steadily strengthening – an 11-point increase from 2018.
Industry beyond tech: Business leaders and employees both feel the "next big things" the Northwest will be known for are:
Wine production (business leaders – 23%; employees – 28%)
Brand reputation matters: Business leaders (41%) and employees (45%) agree that a good brand reputation will be key in helping their company withstand changes in the next few years.
Money on the mind: Across the board, employees prioritize salary over benefits like paid or unpaid vacation time, a higher ranked title, a flexible work schedule and a more manageable workload. Business leaders, however, think their employees value a flexible work schedule (60%) or manageable workload (50%) over a higher salary.
A stronger workforce is needed: Although 85% of business leaders agree graduates in the area are typically qualified, more than half have difficulty finding qualified undergraduates from area universities or colleges to fill their company needs.
Collaboration is key: To find more talent, an increasing number of business leaders (79%) want to collaborate with community leaders, organizations or higher education institutions to find qualified applicants.
The report surveyed 1,000 members of the Northwest workforce, including 500 business leaders age 18 or older living in the region, who hold an upper management level position, have decision making or hiring responsibilities at their company, and have at least three years of management experience, along with 500 employees age 18 or older with at least one year of experience.
About the Carson College of Business The Washington State University Carson College of Business is accredited across all business disciplines at the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral levels by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Faculty across disciplines produce scholarly and applied research at the main campus in Pullman as well as at urban campuses in Vancouver, Everett and the Tri-Cities. International activities include academic centers in China and Switzerland as well as thriving partnerships with several schools around the globe. Innovative online programs supplement face-to-face offerings.