February 15, 2024 – Semper Workforce Solutions has released the results from their 2023 fourth quarter survey of the printing and packaging industries.

Dave Regan, Semper International Co-Founder, and CEO shared his perspective on this quarter’s responses. “It is a mixed bag for sure. We start off this new year uncertain of how this will impact our businesses and industry in the coming months. We believe that in these uncertain times the idea of flex staffing to bring in skilled workers on demand makes a lot of sense.”

The data collected for each survey represents several industry categories: commercial printing, packaging, display and large format graphics, apparel and decorating, and others. Critical to this report is a commitment from contributors to provide steady consistent quarterly data. Semper’s objective is to provide information that is a balanced mix of geography, revenue, and company types.

Q4 2023 survey highlights include:

  • We see a slowdown in sales at the end of 2023. More firms reported sales as flat or decreasing, while the expenses have increased
  • As consumer confidence grows in strength, CFO sense sales will remain soft
  • 44% of respondents are looking to hire while the rest are holding


Our survey results give Semper a unique glimpse into the printing and packaging markets. The Semper Team leverages this data to facilitate the exchange of information and, at times, the exchange of physical items between entities. We honor our industry community with a commitment to maintain confidentiality, thereby earning the trust and confidence of participating businesses.

For those organizations who would like to be included in our Q1 2024 survey, reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – questions will be available for data collection starting April 15th, 2024. Other questions about staffing and hiring can also be submitted via email or on the Semper website


Survey Participation Is Encouraged. Semper will make a $5.00 contribution for each valid survey to the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF).

PGSF is a not-for-profit, private industry-directed organization that offers technical school, undergraduate, and graduate fellowship assistance to men and women interested in a career in the graphic communications field.

Help us help you plan tomorrow’s workforce!



Semper was founded and is run by graphic arts and staffing professionals. Since 1994, Semper has provided staffing solutions for flexible, temporary, and permanent employment needs in print, copy, packaging, and prepress. Our efficient, reliable business model has helped transform how a wide range of print and graphics companies fill important roles or stretch production capacity.

Semper also helps clients expand into new areas and meet the demands of the digital age. As the print and graphics industry evolves and diversifies, Semper helps companies face the changes to come.


Jules VanSant, Partner
Bubble & Hatch
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Decoding the Dynamics: A Comprehensive Analysis of the 2023 Wage + Benefits Trends in the Printing Industry

Wage + Benefits Reports Overview:

Within the complex terrain of the printing industry, the dynamic relationship of salaries, benefits, and overarching industry trends plays a pivotal role in molding both the current and future workforce landscape. The recently released “2023 Wage + Benefits Reports,” derived from the collaboration of 15 print association partners and their members, emphasize the critical need for comprehensive analysis and insights to drive business decisions related to personnel, organizational culture, and ultimately profitability.

The core of these detailed reports exposes more about specific industry recruitment and retention efforts. They are hailed as the most reliable year-to-year labor management reports in the graphics communications industry. With a historical backdrop dating back to the 1970s, these reports amalgamate data from nearly 400 companies across the country, boasting over 190,000 data points. Covering a spectrum of over 200 industry positions and job descriptions, the reports offer a granular understanding categorized by region, company size, and industry segments, including packaging, tag & label, digital printing, inplant, and union printers.

Analysis of Employee Count and Compensation Trends:

Looking at a comparison of averages over a three-year period the employee count data point unveiled intriguing patterns, emphasizing stability among smaller companies while showcasing a decline in the largest enterprises. Regional variations add nuance to the narrative, with North Central and South Central regions experiencing increases, while the North East and West witness decreases in employee count. The most significant change was in the South East where the average dropped considerably.

Delving into compensation trends, the reports show a fluctuating pattern in year-to-year overall compensation increases. Overall salary adjustments showed a dip from 2.5% in 2022 to 1.6% in 2023, while hourly compensation mirrored a similar trajectory, falling from 7% in 2022 to 1.6% in 2023. Projected wage adjustments at the national level reported an average at 2.7%, providing a glimpse into the anticipated shifts in the industry. These percentages paint a picture of where the labor market has come in the last several years. Further, the impact of baby boomers moving to retirement and workers not returning due to COVID has had a negative effect on the labor market. Automation was the plan to address the largest generation of boomer’s retiring; however, the affordability has become a deterrent due to several factors including increases in costs, but also increased interest in a short amount of time.  

Year to year overall hourly compensation changes:

Predictions and Economic Context:

Anticipating future trends, the reports align their findings with the broader economic context, citing the November 2023 federal jobs report where average hourly wages, up 4.1% over the last 12 months, provide a benchmark against which the printing industry can gauge its own trajectory. Noteworthy is the stabilization of wage increases, a relatively low national unemployment rate of 3.9%, and a rise in total employment.

Detailed Examination of Industry-Specific Trends:

Beyond general trends, meticulous dissection occurs on specific industry positions and their corresponding wage changes. Compensation for Sales Managers, Marketing/Business Development Managers, Customer Service Managers, and HR Directors, which experienced a 9% average increase from 2020 to 2021, have leveled off. Similar patterns are observed in operational roles like Sheetfed Press Operators, Flexography Operators, Finishing/Converting, Mail/Fulfillment, Warehouse/Maintenance Operator positions.

Sheetfed Press Operator positions with largest increases from 2020 to 2021 at a 12% average leveled off or declined in 2022 but continued to rise in 2023 shown in the chart below.

Finishing/Converting, Mail/Fulfillment, Warehouse/Maintenance Operator positions with largest increases from 2020 to 2021 at an 8% average leveled off.

Regional Disparities in Work Structures and Policies:

Further evaluation through regional variations in work structures, policies, and incentives reveal considerable variations in number of production shifts across the nation. Notable is the dominance of companies with a single production shift in the South East and West, while the North Central region leads in companies with second and third shifts. Insightful details emerge regarding drug policies, time-off practices, workweek preferences, and overtime pay compensation.

Comprehensive Review of Benefits and Economic Influences:

A comprehensive review of benefits covers vacation policies, personal time off (PTO) accumulation, health insurance offerings, and retirement plans. Regional disparities are evident, with the South Central region leading in one-week paid vacation after one year of service, and the West outpacing in employer-covered health insurance. Retirement plans, including 401(k) matching and profit-sharing options, vary across regions. Incentives, such as bonuses and gift cards, are explored as motivating factors for employee retention. Today’s economic influences must be recognized and include inflationary pressure, election year dynamics, growth in mergers, acquisitions and consolidations, skilled labor job market trends, and supply chain issues.

Health Insurance – Average % covered by employer

While there is consistency in survey participation year-over-year, it is important to note that the data subset of participating companies is not identical which affects these comparisons. Even though the companies that change are a fairly small percentage, it does play a part in the analysis.


The "2023 Wage + Benefits Reports"  not only dissect the current state of compensation packages in the printing industry but serve as a roadmap for industry stakeholders navigating the complex terrain of many outside influences and workforce dynamics. As the industry continues to evolve, these insights provide a valuable compass for informed decision-making and strategic planning.

A Roadmap to Utilizing “2023 Wage + Benefits Reports” for Improved Wage Management, Recruitment and Retention:

Printing firm leaders are encouraged to dig into the reports deeper and utilize the rich content to form budgets and generate a long-term plan. Recommended first steps to bringing this data into strategic planning for 2024 starts with creating a list of every employee position in your firm, maybe on a spreadsheet. For each position, include what your firm pays for each position, including things like starting pay and top pay. If you have historical data of what pay was offered previously this is valuable to add. Next, analyze the data in these reports and identify relevant points for each position. Reflect on insights that impact each role. From this approach, you will build a foundation of knowledge comparing your firm’s compensation rates to industry averages. This is more than making a list. It’s analyzing and recording relevant material from this report.

Then, as part of a budgeting process, use the foundational knowledge built into your list to determine needed changes in both starting pay and top pay for each position. Once you have determined this for each position, systematically apply those guidelines. For instance, consider reviewing every pay rate once a year, the same month every year. Then, at the mid-point between two annual pay rate reviews, consider employees who are not paid top wages for each position. For example, you might review the overall wage picture in December and review those who are under top pay in June. Firms that apply this or a similar systematic approach experience at least two related benefits: their wage management approach has more credibility among employees, and employees question their wages less often. These benefits as well as a variety of others can make a positive impact on strategic planning and efficiency.

Teresa Campbell, PIA MidAmerica President and Annual Wage + Benefits Program Director



Complying with the New Corporate Transparency Act


Back in 2021 Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act, with the goal of enhancing transparency in corporate ownership in order to reduce money laundering, tax fraud, financing of terrorism, and other illicit financial transactions. The Act, which creates reporting requirements regarding the “beneficial owners” of many companies, went into effect on January 1, 2024. Many business owners are surprised to see how this law can impact their personal privacy.

The following provides an overview of what you need to know. For more information, including brochures, videos, a compliance guide and more, visit

Does the Corporate Transparency Act affect my company?


Under the Act, companies that are required to report beneficial ownership information to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) are called “reporting companies.” Domestic reporting companies are corporations, limited liability companies and any other entities created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or any similar office in the United States.

There are, however, exceptions, as 23 types of entities are exempt from the beneficial ownership information reporting requirements. The most relevant exception for our members is “large operating company.” Large operating companies are those that employ more than 20 full-time employees in the U.S.; have an operating presence at a physical address in the U.S.; and filed a Federal income tax or information return in the U.S. for the previous year demonstrating more than $5 million in gross receipts or sales, excluding sales from sources outside the U.S., and reported these gross receipts or sales on an applicable IRS form.

Who is a “beneficial owner” of a reporting company?


A beneficial owner is an individual who either directly or indirectly exercises substantial control over the reporting company, such as a senior officer, and/or owns or controls at least 25% of the reporting company’s ownership interests.

What information must be reported about the company?


A reporting company must report its legal name, trade names or DBAs, street address (not a P.O. box), jurisdiction of formation or registration, and Taxpayer Identification Number.


What information must be reported about the beneficial owners?


For each individual who is a beneficial owner, a reporting company will have to provide the individual’s name, date of birth and residential address, plus the identifying number and issuing state or jurisdiction from an acceptable identification document such as a passport or U.S. driver’s license and an image of this identification document.


How and when do we submit this information?


If your reporting company was created or registered prior to January 1, 2024, you have until January 1, 2025, to file your report. Companies created or registered after January 1, 2024, must file the report within 90 calendar days after receiving notice that the company’s creation or registration is effective. This will change to 30 calendar days for companies created or registered after January 1, 2025.

Beneficial ownership information must be reported electronically at There is no fee to submit this information. Note: As of this writing, the reporting function is not yet available.[LC1] 

There is no annual reporting requirement. However, updates or corrections to previously reported beneficial ownership information must be submitted within 30 days.


Who will have access to this data?


The list of entities that may be able to obtain access to this data from FinCEN includes federal, state, local and tribal officials; certain foreign officials; financial institutions in certain circumstances; and those financial institutions’ regulators.


What are the potential penalties for non-compliance?


A person who willfully violates the beneficial ownership information reporting requirements may be subject to civil penalties of up to $500 for each day that the violation continues, plus criminal penalties of up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. Potential violations include willfully failing to file a beneficial ownership information report, willfully filing false beneficial ownership information or willfully failing to correct or update previously reported beneficial ownership information.


If you have any questions about the Corporate Transparerncy Act and if it affects you,  please contact your legal counsel.

Employers plan to target health care costs, mental health in 2024

Sixty-two percent of U.S. employers are implementing initiatives to address health care costs and enhance mental health programs as they set their health and well-being strategy for 2024, according to recent research from WTW. The 2023 Best Practices in Healthcare Survey found that 69 percent of employers are focused on managing health care plan costs. This follows a projected cost increase next year of 6.4 percent, compared with the average 6.0 percent increase employers are experiencing this year. Almost as many employers (63 percent) are focused on enhancing mental health and emotional wellbeing programs. Other priorities include employee experience (40 percent); communication (38 percent); diversity, equity and inclusion (37 percent); and employee affordability (34 percent).

“As companies face steep health care cost increases, they are not losing sight of the importance of addressing employees’ needs,” said Courtney Stubblefield, managing director, Health & Benefits at WTW. “However, it’s not a simple challenge for employers to navigate. Each employer needs to find the unique portfolio of programs and solutions that will best control its costs while meeting the healthcare and specific needs of its organization.”

According to the survey, employers are increasingly taking action to manage costs and enhance affordability through health plan and vendor efficiencies. While 37 percent of employers are currently implementing programs or using vendors that will reduce costs, 50 percent are planning or considering doing so in the next two years. And while less than one-third (32 percent) put vendor/health plans out to bid, 47 percent are planning or considering doing so.

For controlling costs at the point of care, 24 percent of companies are planning or considering offering a narrow network of higher-quality and/or lower-cost providers in the next two years, while 19 percent are planning or considering using centers of excellence within health plans. Other actions include carving out specialty pharmacy services (16 percent) and offering plan options that restrict or eliminate out-of-network coverage for non-emergency services (13 percent).

Employers are focused on prescription drug costs. While just 16 percent of employers require employees to switch to biosimilars when available by 2025, 27 percent are planning or considering doing this in the next two years. Additionally, more employers are planning or considering evaluating and addressing specialty drug costs and utilization that are paid through the medical benefit (26 percent) and having plan coverage exclusions or higher cost sharing for high-cost/low-value medications (14 percent). Regarding anti-obesity medications, 38 percent of employers cover them today, while 6 percent plan to cover them in 2024 and more than double that (16 percent) are considering doing so in 2025.

WTW found that employers are also embracing navigation and virtual care strategies for managing costs that can improve the quality and access to care for employees and their families. While nearly half (43 percent) of employers currently offer plan advocacy or navigation solutions, 23 percent are planning to do so in the next few years. Additionally, more employers are planning or considering offering virtual primary care through a third party or carrier (18 percent).

In addition to virtual care visits, employers are taking other measures to address mental health issues. Nearly half of employers (48 percent) have engaged or plan to engage with their employee resource groups to address population-specific mental health issues. Other actions include evaluating mental health networks from a diversity lens to ensure diverse representation and providing mental health days offs. Some are still evaluating cost sharing for mental health care. According to the survey, more than half of employers (53 percent ) have conducted or plan to conduct a mental health parity audit. Not only do these audits ensure employers are following laws and recent regulations, but they also provide important mental health plan design and program recommendations.

“Aligning business priorities, from workforce transformation to health care costs to employee wellbeing, requires a constant evolution of benefit programs, culture and employee experience,” said Regina Ihrke, senior director, Health & Benefits at WTW. “By doing so, companies can alleviate strains on attracting and retaining talent, enhance worker health and productivity, and gain competitive advantage.”


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