Just How Bad is the Labor Shortage for Small Business? New Study Sheds Light

small business labor shortage

60% of small businesses are facing difficulties in filling open vacancies, as the market challenges of the pandemic continue to bite.

Just How Bad is the Labor Shortage for Small Business? New Study Sheds Light

The scale of labor shortages within the small business climate in the US was a key finding of Verizon Business’s Small and Midsize Business Outlook and Technology Adoption Study.

The survey was carried out by Morning Consult and involved consolidating the answers from 1,033 small to midsize business decision makers.

55% of decision makers say they have hired new employees in the past year, while 51% have created new positions. 43% of the small business owners surveyed say they were forced to temporarily close at some point during 2021 due an employee contracting COVID-19.

Technology as a Driving Force for Positive Change

The report looks at some of the demands of today’s workforce and the steps small businesses can take to make their place of work appealing to employees and prospective workers.

One primary demand is flexible working, with the study showing that 88% of small business decision makers saying employees want to be offered flexible schedules.

The importance of technology adoption was highlighted, with 63% of respondents saying they are investing in digitalization.

Commenting on the findings, Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, said: “I continue to be inspired by the ingenuity of small and midsize businesses.

“These figures are indicative of what we’ve seen in working with our customers, who are embracing technology to meet their customers’ changing needs, scale their businesses and ensure they are future-ready,” Erwin continued.

Seamless and Productive Flexible Working Solutions

With the right technology, small businesses can offer a more seamless, productive, and efficient flexible working experience, something which employees now look for in an employer.

Verizon Business’s research found that many businesses are adapting to such requirements, with 77% having either added or upgraded technologies that support connectivity since the start of the pandemic, including web conferencing tools, bandwidth, and high-speed internet.

Optimism is Rising

Despite labor shortages continuing to be a leading challenge for many small businesses, the study shows that optimism is rising within the small business community.

71% of the small and midsized business decision makers say they are better off than they were a year ago. 45% say their business’s financial security has improved. 61% say they expect their business’s financial security to improve in coming months, and 77% of respondents say they are expanding or considering expanding into a new market to fuel growth.

Business expansion and success inevitably requires the right talent. To help overcome labor shortages, small businesses should prioritize meeting employees’ demands for flexible working conditions. Subsequently, small businesses need to have the right technology in place to offer efficient and productive flexible working setups.

Image: Depositphotos

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".