Small businesses employ almost half of all workers in the United States and have been responsible for much of the post-2008 economic recovery through their hiring efforts. Over the past year, hiring activity has been on an upward trend for small businesses, with plans to add workers hitting the highest level since 1999.

SCORE’s newest “The Megaphone of Main Street” data report provides a snapshot of the current American small business landscape. This report digs into hiring issues for small and microbusinesses.

Our latest infographic, “The Megaphone of Main Street: Small Business and Employment,” focuses on the hiring challenges faced by small businesses.

We surveyed over 1,700 small business owners to rate their difficulty filling their hiring needs. More than 50 percent of small businesses said it was very or somewhat difficult to fill open positions, with about 55 percent of micro businesses, or those with 0 to 4 employees, in agreement.

Twenty-seven percent of openings went unfilled in the past six months, which was consistent across different small business sizes and locations. Two exceptions were noted: Slightly more rural businesses (30 percent) were unable to fill job openings, and fewer micro businesses (17.5 percent) reported they had jobs go unfilled.

Why is it hard to find small business employees?

Business owners cite problems finding skilled, qualified applicants as a primary reason for not filling positions. Offering competitive wages and salaries is another common challenge, along with a lack of healthcare and other employee benefits. Hiring takes time, too — about 18 percent of all small businesses said it was too time-consuming to hire qualified workers - they’ll just do it themselves.

Small businesses use job-posting sites, recommendations from other business owners, networking groups and online platforms drive hiring efforts, but by far, recommendations from other workers proved most fruitful in finding new employees.

How to improve your own hiring efforts

If you’re thinking of hiring your first employee, the webinar “Hiring Your First Employee: A Guide to Getting It Right” can assist you in developing an efficient hiring process. Make sure you determine the responsibilities and qualities of your next employee.

Meet with a SCORE mentor to discuss your hiring needs and challenges. With experience and business perspective, a volunteer mentor can guide you toward making the best decisions for your small business.

About the Author(s)

 Bridget  Weston

Bridget Weston is the CEO of the SCORE Association, where she provides executive leadership and works directly and collaboratively with the Board of Directors to establish the vision and direction of SCORE.

Small Businesses Persevere Despite Hiring Challenges