The vast majority of Britain’s small business owners feel it is harder for them to hire staff than it is for bigger companies, according to new research conducted by job site Indeed.
Some 81% of bosses at micro businesses – those with fewer than 10 employees – believe recruitment is more difficult for them than it is for their larger, more established rivals.
The findings, which come as official figures show the UK’s employment rate is at its highest level since records began 46 years ago, suggest that many small businesses are fighting a battle for talent.
Even successful, fast-growing small firms can find recruitment tough. A third of small business bosses (34%) say they struggle to find suitable candidates for roles, with nearly half (42%) feeling frustrated if it takes them longer than a month to fill a vacancy.
Three in five (59%) decision-makers at small businesses cite a perceived lack of job security as the principal reason they struggle to attract applicants, while half (49%) think it is due to their lack of name recognition when pitted against bigger, better-known brands.
Other reasons for hiring difficulties include candidates’ perception that small firms offer fewer opportunities for career progression than larger ones (43%), an inability to offer the same benefits as larger companies (42%), assumptions that salaries will be lower (26%), and a relative lack of prestige (18%).
Bill Richards, UK managing director at Indeed, commented: “With unemployment at a record low and employment at a record high, recruitment in the current environment is a challenge for employers of all sizes.
“Our research suggests many small businesses feel the odds are stacked against them in the battle for talent. While larger firms will always have a head start in terms of brand recognition, popular misconceptions that smaller companies offer less job security or fewer prospects for career progression are also taking their toll.
“By shining a light on these issues, we hope to help smaller companies level the playing field. It’s crucial that smaller employers address candidate concerns right through the hiring process, from the wording of the job ad to how they tell their company story or approach interviews. It’s crucial to spotlight the benefits that working in a smaller company can offer employees, such as being part of a close-knit team and having a greater sense of autonomy on projects.”