The Hardest Jobs for Small Businesses to Fill Are …



hardest jobs for small businesses to fill

The hardest jobs for small businesses to fill are those that require specialized skills.

Generalist positions, it would seem, are easier to fill. But finding someone with in-depth skills or skills based on specific training, such as jobs in construction trades or in medical fields — now that’s a different story.

According to job site Indeed.com, a number of hard-to-fill jobs are skilled trades.  Among the top 10 hardest jobs for small businesses to fill are carpet installers, construction assistants, and tile and marble setters.

Taking Advantage of The Hardest Jobs for Small Businesses to Fill

Hard to fill jobs are not great news for the employer, but they can be an opportunity for freelancers and job seekers.

Got a talent for languages?  Small businesses find it challenging to fill positions of interpreters and translators.

Like to sew and make clothing?  Jobs such as tailors and dressmakers are also hard to fill.





A competitive market for skilled trade jobs is consistent with what is happening in the overall economy, according to Tara Sinclair, Chief Economist at Indeed. “As baby boomers retire, millennials are not stepping in to fill these trade jobs, making it even more difficult for businesses of all sizes to fill these roles,” she said.

While many millennials have college degrees, there is still a significant population of millennials who do not have a college degree and could find great opportunities training for a skilled trade.

On the other hand, some hard-to-fill positions do in fact require advanced education. Consider tax preparers and physicians and surgeons. They are the third and fourth hardest jobs to fill, as the accompanying chart shows.

The Indeed.com data is based on actual positions remaining open for more than 90 days. The job openings were at small businesses with under 150 employees.



Indeed’s data is consistent with a recent report from the NFIB, which found that “finding qualified workers” is one of the top problems small businesses face. More analysis on hard to fill jobs for small businesses is here.



So what can small businesses do when specialized positions are difficult to fill?  Three things:

  • Offer training.  On the job training has been on the decline in recent years. However, it presents an opportunity for small businesses to gain a hiring edge. “Small businesses can compete for talent by offering training programs to fill the talent gap,” said Sinclair. “While it may be a challenge for a small business to lose productivity up front, the long-term the benefits of having properly trained employees in a tight labor market can be worth it.”
  • Spread the word about job openings.  Encourage referrals from existing employees. Make sure your job openings are widely seen both online on job posting sites and locally in the form of signs on your door or in community newspaper classifieds. Cover as many bases as possible. Do whatever it takes to help qualified job seekers become aware of your opening.
  • Increase loyalty through pay increases and job perks.  Another way to compete is to encourage skilled employees to stay and not leave. In other words, get in front of the problem. Try to become the best possible place to work that your business can realistically be.

Is finding skilled employees an issue for your business?  If so, what positions?



Image: Indeed More in: 3 Comments ▼


Anita Campbell


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

3 Reactions

  1. I am a skilled and qualified person but I am struggling to find sustainable employment yet you say you can’t fill skilled positions, I find this unexceptable.

  2. Did you research to see what the pay is that these businesses are offering for these positions? I have seen so many companies offering $10-12 an hour for a position that requires a degree and several years of experience. They are expecting to have a professional come in and accept entry level pay. It’s insulting!

  3. As a business owner I’m on the opposite end, we find it impossible to get house hold cleaners at $23 +super and bonuses. Lots of tyre kickers though.

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