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Middle Market Companies Struggling to Navigate Supply Chain Disruption, Labor Shortage, Survey

February 28, 2022, 06:00 AM
Filed Under: Economy

Year-end 2021 data from Chubb and the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), housed at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, reveals that middle market firms' optimistic economic outlook and continued recovery from the pandemic is tempered by concerns around navigating a complex risk landscape. According to Chubb and NCMM's 2021 Year-End Middle Market Indicator (MMI), more than a third (35%) of middle market firms rank increased risks among the top three most difficult aspects of running their business in the current environment.

"Business success and risk are inherently intertwined," said Ben Rockwell, Division President, Chubb Middle Market. "Middle market leaders have an opportunity to make risk management—from better understanding of their exposures to updating their risk mitigation strategies and insurance program—a priority, so they can support continued growth."

Supply chain challenges present a significant hurdle, with nearly half (47%) of middle market firms reporting that they have been directly impacted by supply chain disruptions or constraints in the prior six months. This challenge is amplified for certain industries, with the percentage increasing to 49% for middle market technology companies, 54% for middle market financial services companies and 59% for middle market manufacturers.

At the same time, the tight labor market is straining middle market companies' employees and hindering growth. Fifty-one percent of middle market firms say their company is extremely or very challenged by finding and hiring employees with the right skills for the jobs available. Slightly more than half (54%) of these companies struggling to hire say that, as a result, employees are working long hours and more shifts, and 32% have experienced a slowdown in productivity and sales.

To navigate these and other challenges, middle market leaders are leveraging their insurance agents' and brokers' expertise: Per the data, 89% rely on an insurance agent or broker to manage risk. As their needs evolve, middle market firms should continue to keep their agent or broker apprised of how their operations are changing, so they can adapt their risk management and insurance programs in lockstep and stay protected.

The MMI, which was created in 2012, surveys 1,000 executives (CEOs, CFOs and other financial decision makers) from the middle market to examine topics related to business capabilities, performance, growth drivers and economic outlook among other topics. The 2021 Year-End MMI was fielded during December 2021. It is weighted to accurately reflect the size, industry-wide and geographic distribution of this sector, which includes companies ranging from $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. The survey is conducted by RTi Research on behalf of the National Center for the Middle Market.

The National Center for the Middle Market is a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, Chubb and Visa. It exists for a single purpose: to ensure that the vitality and robustness of middle market companies are fully realized as fundamental to our nation's economic outlook and prosperity. The center is the leading source of knowledge, leadership and innovative research on the middle market economy, providing critical data analysis and insights for companies, policymakers and other key stakeholders. NCMM is fully committed to funding and distributing the most credible open-sourced research, dynamically creating new knowledge, providing programs that drive value for middle market companies and offering a well-informed outlook on the health and future of the middle market via the Middle Market Indicator.

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