How Do Your Business’s Hiring Plans Stack Up?

hiring plans

Is your small business ready to hire or does it have any immediate hiring plans? If not, you’re in line with the majority of small and midsized companies in the U.S., according to the latest Sage SMB Hiring Outlook Survey from Sage North America.

According to Sage, 25 percent of SMBs overall say they either have hired or will hire in 2013, while 47 percent expect staffing to stay the same. Only 7 percent have cut or plan to cut staff this year. The rest still weren’t sure of their hiring plans.

The survey polled businesses with 99 or fewer employees. Companies with more than 20 employees were significantly more likely to have already hired or have hiring plans. Thirty-four percent of companies of this size had hired or plan to hire, while 34 percent planned to keep staffing levels the same. In comparison, just 18 percent of companies with fewer than 20 employees had hired or plan to hire, while 55 percent plan to keep staffing levels the same.

However, size wasn’t the biggest factor in whether a company has hired or will hire this year. Increased demand for its products or services was the primary influencer, cited by 81 percent of companies that are hiring. Larger companies (with 20 or more employees) were also more likely to be hiring because they felt optimistic about the economy—36 percent cited an improved economic outlook as a reason they were hiring.

The biggest reason companies aren’t hiring?

Not surprisingly, it’s lack of demand for their products or services (40 percent), followed closely by economic uncertainty (39 percent), non-healthcare-related costs of doing business (26 percent) and continued uncertainty in Washington (20 percent).

Prior Sage surveys reported taxes and regulations hampered SMB growth, but this survey shows that although both taxes and regulations are factors in hiring, they aren’t top factors for not hiring. Small business owners are a sensible lot, and what’s happening in their own companies—not factors outside their control—is the primary driver for their choices.

There’s also some heartening news among the companies that have hired or plan to hire this year: A whopping 82 percent plan to bring on full-time employees, while 29 percent plan to hire part-timers, 19 percent plan to hire seasonal workers and 10 percent plan to hire contract workers.

As small business owners know, hiring full-time employees is a leap of faith since full-timers typically cost more than other types of employees in terms of training, benefits and wages. Plus, few entrepreneurs relish bringing on full-time workers only to lay them off again—so business owners are typically feeling pretty confident before they bring on new full-time staff.

The prevalence of business owners who are committed to full-time hiring means a significant percentage of entrepreneurs are feeling optimistic about their futures—and that’s good news.

Hiring Photo via Shutterstock

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.