Small Businesses Struggle to Hire and Retain Employees as Pandemic Impacts Linger

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

 Small business owners report that hiring the right talent is their number one challenge (63.4% of business owners), according to new survey data from SCORE, mentors to America's small businesses.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here:

The Megaphone of Main Street: Small Business Jobs Report reveals that an overwhelming majority (89.5%) of business owners surveyed rated hiring new employees as, "somewhat or very difficult," and two-thirds of business owners surveyed (61.2%) reported unfilled job openings.

"The most common problem is staffing," commented one entrepreneur who responded to the survey. "People everywhere tell us they can't get people to come back to work and can't find help anywhere. There are job signs posted, but many coffee shops and restaurants are forced to shut down several days a week due to staffing shortages."

When asked what specific issues are making hiring so difficult right now, small businesses reported that the need to raise salary and wages to be competitive (54.7%) was most challenging, followed by an inability to find qualified applicants (53%) and general lack of applicants (48.9%).

Researchers compared 2021 data to similar questions from another SCORE survey in 2017 and found that pressure to increase wages to stay competitive now impacts twice as many business owners (54.7%) compared with 2017 survey results (26.2%).

"Workers are leaving their jobs in record numbers due to lack of child care, low wages, fear of COVID-19, long commutes, and changing values and priorities," said Betsy Dougert, vice president of external relations for SCORE. "Those who stay are demanding higher wages and better benefits. Small businesses are struggling to meet this demand, and we encourage business owners to connect with an expert SCORE mentor to troubleshoot these challenges."

Click here to download the infographic on hiring struggles and click here to access the full Megaphone of Main Street: Jobs Report for additional data on the employment challenges and opportunities facing U.S. small businesses.