2022 State of the Industry Report

Jan. 19, 2023
40 industry professionals took the 2022 State of the Industry survey, giving insight into what the most important topics are for the coming year.
As another year came and went, WQP surveyed its audience with its annual State of the Industry survey. This survey helps the WQP editorial team gauge what the most important and challenging topics were for the industry in 2022 and going forward in 2023. Forty industry professionals took the 2022 survey.

Before diving into the results, let’s look at the demographics of those who participated in this year’s survey.  

Most respondents (70%) have been in their roles and careers for 20 years or more, and their respective companies have been in business for 30 years or more. One a related note, when asked for age ranges, the majority (35%) responded saying they fall in the 60-69 range. 

 The majority of respondents (20%) said they work for distributors and wholesalers, while another 20% of respondents listed their principal activity as “other.” Behind those two categories, respondents work as dealers/contractors, manufacturers, and in executive management. The majority of those who responded to the survey (35%) live in the Midwest. The next biggest majority (25%) live in the West.

And finally, we asked which market segments the businesses of these professionals' work in. The majority (40%) said residential. This was followed by commercial at 20%, small municipal/public systems at 17.5%, industrial at 15%, and other at 7.5%.  

As was discussed in the December episode of the Talking Under Water podcast, costs are a big concern for many in the industry, mostly because it is hard to predict. As such, the majority of respondents here (37.5%) said employees' salaries and benefits will account for the largest part of their budget in the next 24 months. The next largest group (15%) said “other” and listed examples such as construction of new plants, increasing costs and uncertainty surrounding a potential recession. However, the majority of respondents (65%) do not have plans to expand their
operations in 2023.

It’s been a tumultuous few years in general with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many shows were shut down, and in 2022 some starting to make their comebacks. That being said, the majority of respondents (35%) said they did not attend a trade show, conference or other educational opportunity in 2022. But, close behind was 30% that said they had attended such an event. For those that said yes to attending, some answers included the WQA Convention, AWWA ACE and regional WQA shows. 

Perhaps one of the most telling questions we always ask is what the greatest challenge companies will face over the next 24 months. This is an open-ended question, and common answers are depicted in the image below. Other answers included chemical costs, education requirements and marketing.

As was also discussed on the Talking Under Water podcast, it seems the water industry as a whole had a pretty “status quo” 2022. However, WQP asked various associations and professionals for their 2023 outlooks, and there is a sense of wholistic opportunity for the industry.  

As Rick Andrew, director of Global Business Development – Water Systems for NSF, said in the outlook article, there are plenty of emerging trends coming in 2023 which lend themselves to opportunity.  

“All told, as usual, we can gear up once again for a coming year full of opportunities and challenges. And once again, this resilient industry is well positioned with its pool of talent and formidable work ethic to rise up and succeed,” he said in his 2023 outlook.  

About the Author

Katie Johns

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