While the unemployment rate continues to drop, some small businesses are struggling to hire qualified workers.
Currently, small businesses employ nearly half of all U.S. employees, and in the past 26 years, small businesses have created 17.3 million new jobs. So how is it that more than 80% of small businesses have no employees?
What’s really going on with the state of hiring in the U.S. right now?
While we’d all like to break up with the memory of 2020, the lockdown, mass layoffs, production halt, inflation cost and raised job expectations, all play a large part in current hiring woes.
Hiring in 2023 will require a different approach as companies assess their needs and requirements of employment seekers.
The labor market has become increasingly competitive. With so many openings available following the end of the massive hiring freezes, job seekers have more options than before. Small businesses know this, and many found it necessary to offer higher salaries in order to retain and attract top talent.
Unfortunately, those who are unable to offer competitive salaries or benefits packages are struggling. More important than benefit packages these days is flexibility. In today’s fast-paced world, job seekers are looking for businesses that allow them to have schedules that work around their needs.
But not every hiring problem can be tamed with higher pay and flexible schedules. The healthcare industry, for example, is facing a shortage of nurses and healthcare professionals. This particular shortage is due in part to an aging population who are not only requiring more medical care but also, those within the industry reaching retirement age.
How to Combat Hiring Woes
There’s no one trick to fixing the issue of hiring. However, there are three proactive steps businesses can take to overcome these challenges.
- Focus on building a stronger employer brand. Developing a reputation as a great place to work is the best thing small businesses can do to help attract the talent it needs to the company even if it can’t offer the highest salaries or the most flexible work scheduling. This can be done by promoting a positive company culture and work-life balance or by investing in employee development through training courses.
- Partner with local schools and training programs. This piggybacks on the first tip. By working with these schools and organizations, small businesses are able to create a pipeline of qualified workers and proactively address the issue.
- Consider outsourcing. The gig economy isn’t going away any time soon. Outsourcing work can be a cost-effective solution to ensure your operations keep running. This is an especially excellent idea for businesses that are preparing for a rush.
Resources for Small Businesses
While it may be more difficult for businesses to find workers, there are strategies to alleviate the struggle. Here are three resources for you to dig deeper into your hiring strategy:
- Check out our RECRUIT. RETAIN. INSPIRE. webinar during which Kevin O’Connor, the Emmy award-winning host of This Old House, shares insights and tips on hiring and keeping employees at your small business during one of the toughest labor markets in history.
- Read The Small Business Guide to Hiring & Keeping Employees. You’ll find actionable steps to find great talent and keep them inspired on the job.
- Use our Hiring in 50 States tool to learn more about your state’s wages, hiring trends and incentives available to small businesses that create new jobs.
Lisa O’Toole is Thryv’s assistant vice president of Employee Experience, Diversity & Inclusion. With 23 years at Thryv, Lisa is leading the transformation of the Human Resources team to Employee Experience with a focus on employee-centric policies and programs.