Area "Wage & Benefits Study"

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(L-R above) MTIDA Executive Director Bob Bibb and BERC Director Murat Arik

MTSU's Business and Economic Research Center has released a comprehensive study of wage and benefits study of Midstate manufacturers to help economic development officials attract and keep good-paying jobs in the region.

"It gives important policy perspective for regional workforce development officers," said BERC Director Murat Arik. "The study also includes 'sub-regional' reports that can inform prospective companies what the wage environment is currently in Middle Tennessee."

The information compiled was based on a survey of over 350 industries that employ over 82,000 Tennesseansin the Midstate. With a response rate of 25 percent, the results of this survey provide a picture of the compensation structure in the region in the late summer/early fall of 2017.

The roughly 90-minute Wage and Benefit Survey captured data such as business demographics, pay practices and employee benefits. BERC also created "occupational templates" for three sub-regions that contain information such as how many people are employed in a particular area and addresses issues such as difficulty filling open positions and absentee and turnover rates

Arik said that by having comparative data, HR managers can assess whether their companies have challenges to address. Those who've seen the available data have been "extremely enthusiastic" about having this depth of information, he said.

To view PDF versions of survey results, go to http://mtsu.edu/berc/surveyresults.php and click on the link of interest.

The university's research center administered the survey through a partnership with the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association, which used a $45,000 rural business development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Office.

MTIDA Executive Director Bob Bibb said the survey was "a tremendous undertaking" and was only possible because of the support of partnership organizations.

"By working together as a region, no one community was burdened with having to do this on their own," Bibb said. "Because of the value of this information to existing industries and to industries looking to locate in Middle Tennessee, we are committed to working with MTSU and our regional and local partners in 2019 to conduct this survey once again.

"Our goal is that this will be the wage and benefit resource that industry can rely on in the Midstate."

Other partners for the project include the Upper Cumberland Development District, South Central Tennessee Development District, Greater Nashville Regional Council, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Highlands Economic Partnership and the Tennessee Central Economic Authority.

USDA Rural Development invests in rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants "to create jobs and strengthen rural economies with an emphasis to assist areas of persistent poverty."

For more information about the Business and Economic Research Center at MTSU, call 615-898-2610, email berc@mtsu.edu or visit http://www.mtsu.edu/berc/.

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