Help Wanted, But Businesses Not Hiring

Small business owners may be understaffed, but don’t expect them to hire new workers anytime soon.

A new survey from TD Bank found that while 35% of small business owners are somewhat understaffed, only 21% plan to hire one or more employees in the months to come. The vast majority (70%) plan to keep their staff levels at their current numbers, TD reported.

The survey polled more than 500 small businesses from Maine to Florida.

The biggest challenge for small businesses when it comes to human resources is finding new, qualified candidates (42%), followed by training existing employees (22%). Offering competitive compensation is a top issue for 22% of small businesses, followed by laying off inadequate employees *8%) and continuous employee turnover (5%).

Declining sales was the top challenge described by the businesses polled with 29% of the response. This was followed closely by health-care and insurance costs (27%) and cash flow concerns (23%). Rounding out the list was pressure from larger competitors (12%) and rising energy costs (10%).

Respondents also differed when it came to defining success as a small business owner. Many said it would be defined by doing something they enjoy (24%) and having a stable work/life balance (23%). Being your own boss and earning enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle tied with 17% of the response. Finally, continuous increases in business profitability (10%) and creating jobs in the local community (9%) finished out the ranking.