Hiring quality staff could pose biggest challenge of 2014

Most small to medium businesses struggled to recruit in 2013. As the heat turns up in the coming year, statistics indicate the challenge is only set to grow

Finding top talent is rarely easy, but some industries are having a better time of it than others. In the third quarter of 2013, the only professional sector where small to medium businesses (SMBs) found it easier to find candidates than in previous quarters was information technology. The hardest sectors to recruit in were sales, marketing and manufacturing management, where 51% of SMBs said they had difficulty recruiting, according to Lucas Group.

If trends continue, it’s likely that hiring will become even more difficult. In Q2 of 2013, 41% of SMBs planned to hire more staff over the next 12 months, but that figure has jumped to 49% in the latest report (for the third quarter of 2013).

It stands to reason that 2014 will see tighter hiring conditions, given the recovering economy.

“Many employers have been dealing for so long with a pared-down staff, cutting to the bone in some cases – they are finding their employees overworked and restless,” said Corra Group co-founder Gordon Basichis. “Employers need to bring in additional personnel.”

Hiring high-quality staff is the third largest concern of small business owners, according to an October Gallup survey. Seven percent said it was the most important challenge, falling behind only ‘attracting customers’ and ‘financial stability’ respectively.

Similarly, 22% of executives cited a skilled labor shortage as a serious concern for the coming year in the Employer Associations of America 2014 National Business Trends survey.

And 51% of human resource managers said they currently had positions for which they could not find qualified candidates in the CareerBuilder 2014 US Job Forecast.


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