Recruitment troubles identified as a key barrier to growth for small businesses

More than one in ten small business owners have identified recruitment as the biggest barrier they face to growing their business, according to new research by SME insurance provider, Superscript. 

The research, part of a report titled: Supercharging small business growth, highlights the struggles that small businesses face recruiting staff, with the biggest challenge being that many candidates lack the necessary experience (30%). Meanwhile, many small businesses simply can’t afford a recruitment drive right now – with 23% saying the recruitment process is too expensive, and nearly a fifth (19%) saying that they cannot meet candidate salary requirements. This comes amid a record 1.1 million job vacancies in the UK in the period between July and September this year, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). 

The report also highlights the impacts of failure to recruit on small businesses. Micro businesses (1-10 employees), say that the biggest knock-on effect is that they cannot increase sales (31%) or expand product/service offerings (29%). Meanwhile, Respondents with 25 – 49 employees said the biggest impact of recruitment issues is that it forces senior members of the team to spend more time in the office, resulting in burnout and lower-quality decision-making (29%). 

In terms of improvements that could be made to help make recruitment easier, respondents said that government investment in apprenticeship and skill schemes (38%) would be most useful – which is consistent with the finding that a lack of skills is the biggest problem for small businesses. Respondents also pointed towards the wider availability of recruitment advice/training (30%) as something that would make recruitment easier, as well as simpler reference checks (29%). Over a fifth (22%) also cited less stringent requirements to meet the conditions for working visas as a key way that their recruitment issues can be addressed. 

Cameron Shearer, CEO of Superscript, said:

“In the midst of a recruitment crisis across the UK, small businesses are particularly struggling as they often will not have the resources or brand recognition to compete with larger, more prestigious companies for the talent. On the flip side of this, with the amount of small businesses that have started up over the last year, it is encouraging that they are finding the success that requires them to take the decision to grow their team to maintain growth. Providers can support small businesses by removing unnecessary red tape and by giving them the flexibility they need to grow.”

Superscripts top recruitment tips for small businesses: 

  1. Design a recruitment roadmap. Understand what roles to hire for first, in line with the business plan. Usually, it is a good idea to start with roles that will help you develop the service first. Once you have a great product, get the sales people in to ramp that up.
  2. Spread the word – Put your recruitment at the front and centre of all communications you put out. Utilise social media: Post the role on LinkedIn jobs, update your business and personal profiles to show your hiring. Use your contacts who may know someone, or find a recruiter who knows the space well. Don’t underestimate the power of local business communities or a well-placed ad in the local paper. 
  3. Build a positive culture with employee benefits. Build a positive work culture that reflects your values and inspires employees. Provide them with options to suit their needs: whether that’s flexible working, or equity to top up a lower salary. Try to provide benefits that would be hard to get elsewhere, like private healthcare or modes of transport. Word will quickly spread of what a great place it is to work.   
  4. Employers Liability insurance.  As soon as you take on your first employee, you are legally required to have employers liability insurance. This will cover you if an employee claims they sustained an injury or became ill as a result of working for you.

Author: Editorial Team

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