November 07 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Small businesses need talent to thrive

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Small companies seeking growth need to find and recruit the right talent, according to Everline research.

Small companies are booming in the UK – but to truly thrive, they need to be able to access the right talent.

That’s the view from the first Everline small business tracker, after the report found that as many as one in every four small businesses in the UK currently have job vacancies available. Across the whole of the UK, that’s the equivalent of more than 520,000 jobs – or half the population of Birmingham.

According to the report’s authors, these vacancies means the UK losing out on as much as £18 billion, which is around half the gross domestic produce of Northern Ireland.

Nationwide, the job market is moving again after stagnation during the financial crisis. As a result, it was inevitable that more vacancies would emerge as workers gained confidence in the economy and started looking for new opportunities. But it appears that these gaps are becoming harder to fill – and for 16 per cent of firms, skills shortages were the root cause of the vacancies.

In many cases firms are unable to find the right talent within their own organisations. Some 83 per cent of the small firms surveyed said they felt their staff needed more training. Perhaps as a result, just 47 per cent said they would allow junior members to progress into more senior positions.

Considering the fact that business owners are now spending around 100 hours per year – worth as much as £3,160 – trying to fill these vacancies and train their existing staff, it’s obvious that a lack of skills is taking its toll on small companies.

It could be that they simply need to invest in more and better training and development for their existing talent. On one hand, this allows employers to shape their workforce by developing the skills that will meet the business’ needs.

But from another perspective, training and development – and the fact that this increases opportunities to progress within the company – is an attractive prospect. It will help to attract and retain skilled talent so that businesses can cut the number of vacancies they have to fill in the first place.

Thiago Kiwi

Thiago is the LSBF Blog Editor who manages news and features content on the site, and writes about business, finance, technology, education and careers.

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