Survey Reveals 5 Small Business Hiring Trends for 2018

Pete Jansons

The start of a new year often marks the start of new projects and resolutions to do better, grow bigger and get stronger. And for small businesses, this is no exception.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 38 percent of small business employers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees this year. And of the 40 percent of small business employers who plan to hire contract or temporary workers in 2018, 58 percent plan to hire these workers permanently.

But no resolution comes without its challenges. More job creation means more competition for talent, and small businesses already struggle to find quality talent to fill key roles. Thirty-one percent of small business employers currently have jobs they cannot fill because they cannot find qualified talent, and 37 percent have jobs that stay open for 12 weeks or longer. Moreover, 39 percent have seen a negative impact on business due to extended job vacancies, including loss in productivity, lower morale, lower quality work, more employee turnover and loss of revenue.

Five Small Business Hiring Trends for 2018


The survey also reveals what small businesses are doing to overcome these challenges and attract top talent while retaining high performers. Below are some of the small business hiring trends to watch this year.

  1. Recruiting Bilingual Candidates: Perhaps in effort to widen their audience base and better serve clients and customers for whom English is a second language, 38 percent of small business employers plan to hire bilingual candidates.
  2. Seeking Soft Skills: The overwhelming majority of small business employers (94 percent) consider soft skills to be a very or somewhat important factor in determining whether or not to hire a candidate. In fact, 58 percent consider a candidate’s soft skills to be just as important as his or her hard skills.
  3. Re-engaging Past Employees: In order to fill key roles, small business employers will seek help from those who already know their business well: 33 percent plan to reach out to former employees in 2018 to fill jobs.
  4. Hiring for Potential: This year, small business employers will give points to candidates just for trying. Fifty-nine percent said they will train and hire workers who may not have all the skills they need, but have potential, while 35 percent plan to train low-skill workers who don't have experience in their field and hire them for higher-skill jobs.
  5. Boosting Compensation. Small business employers are willing to pay for what they want: More than half (57 percent) plan to increase salaries on initial job offers for new employees, and 25 percent will increase salaries by 5 percent or more. Meanwhile, 80 percent will increase compensation for existing employees, and 33 percent will increase them by 5 percent or more.

Struggling to find qualified candidates this year? Check out 6 Hidden Talent Pools to Consider


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