The good news we’ve been hearing about the economy in recent months finally seems to be trickling down to small-business owners. In a recent survey, nearly 60 percent of small businesspeople say they’re planning to hire in the next 12 months. The GrowBiz Media Small Business Hiring and Retention Survey 2012, conducted for my company by SurveyMonkey Audience, polled 700 U.S. small-business owners, most of them with 2 to 50 employees.
Responding to the Uptick
More than 60 percent of the businesses surveyed say they are hiring to meet increased demand for their products or services, and 44 percent say they’re expanding into new products/services or new markets/geographic areas. Of course, good old attrition is responsible for 46 percent of planned hires.
Even among business owners who aren’t planning to hire, 73 percent say they aren't hiring because of sufficient staff levels. Only 16 percent say concerns about the economy are preventing them from hiring, and 8 percent need to hire employees, but can’t afford to do so.
Small-business owners’ outlook toward the economy as a whole, in fact, is getting sunnier. Asked their opinion of the U.S. economy in the past six months, nearly half (46.7 percent) have seen improvement. About one-fourth say there’s been no change, and 16.7 percent say the economy has worsened a little. Just 6.7 percent say the economy has worsened drastically.
With all we’ve heard about the recession leading to a permanent freelance economy, one of the surprising results of the survey is that the bulk of hires small-business owners plan to make this year are the old-fashioned kind: permanent. About 61 percent plan to hire full-time permanent workers, while 48.4 percent will hire part-time permanent workers. Just 13.7 percent will use contractors, 13 percent will use interns, and 9.9 percent will retain virtual workers. As for outsourcing internationally, it’s barely making a mark, with just 2.5 percent of respondents choosing this option.
In terms of the specific business sectors that need staffing, operations will account for 51.6 percent of hires, communication/sales/marketing positions for 27.3 percent, administrative for 21.1 percent and technology for 18.6 percent.
Keep in mind, most of the business owners in this survey had 50 or fewer employees. In other words, even the smallest small businesses are feeling it’s time to make some changes, power up and get ready to grow again. That’s good news for all of us.
Are you planning to hire this year? Access the full survey results here to see how you compare to other small business owners.
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