Survey: 76% of county businesses plan to expand
Majority of respondents say staff recruitment is affecting their business

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Oct. 11, 2017

WAUKESHA — Waukesha County businesses intend to grow during the next three years through increasing their staff, moving to a larger facility, via acquisitions or by growing their revenue, among other reasons, according to a survey.

The survey was conducted by the Waukesha County Business Alliance, Waukesha County Center for Growth, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington (WOW) Workforce Development Board.

What they learned was that more businesses are anticipating growth compared to the previous survey the groups created in 2015. That year, 72 percent of surveyed businesses planned to expand.

According to the 2017 survey, 61 percent of businesses have reached 100 percent capacity at their current physical locations, up from 55 percent in 2015, but 40 percent do not own or lease sufficient property to allow for expansion of their current facilities. Twenty-seven percent plan to move to a new facility, which is up from 17 percent in 2015. Eighty-five percent plan to expand their workforce in the next three years (up from 84 percent in 2015), but nearly 60 percent say staff recruitment is impacting their business (up from 58 percent in 2015). Sixty-seven percent of businesses report finding a skilled workforce to be the primary challenge they faced when starting or growing their businesses.

“Our efforts to make Waukesha County the epicenter of economic development in the region are working,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow in the release. “Sixty-five percent of local businesses say they consider Waukesha County a very desirable place to do business, up from 53 percent just two years ago. The Waukesha County Center for Growth is already exceeding its goals, and we’re excited to see what will come in the future.”

Other key findings in the survey were: 70 percent plan to put new technological innovations into place within the next two years and 68 percent of businesses see the value of training their employees because it leads to higher retention of employees.

Also, nearly 60 percent say staff recruitment is impacting their business (up from 58 percent in 2015) because 40 percent say potential employees don’t have enough job experience; 34 percent cite wage levels as the main challenge; 42 percent say potential employees don’t have the appropriate training or education; 58 percent can’t find employees that fit their business culture; 82 percent can’t find enough qualified workers; and 16 percent say potential employees don’t have available transportation to work. One percent say Waukesha County doesn’t have enough community quality of life amenities.

Some other information collected during the survey process was 72 percent of businesses in Waukesha County were founded before the year 2000 and 84 percent of companies said their sales grew in the past year.

To see the full results of the survey, go to