Small Businesses Face Pressure in Finding Employees With The Right Skills

As a small business owner, you know that your success can depend not only on your ability to stay on top of the day-to-day work, but also on how well you can see what’s on the horizon.  Detecting or failing to recognize an important trend can be the difference between a stellar year and one you might prefer to forget. That’s why Oasis, a Paychex® Company, conducted a survey of the top workforce challenges faced by over 300 small businesses in the U.S. Examining emerging workforce trends can help you, as a leader, make better decisions for your business.

When asked about the most pressing current workforce challenge in their business, some 58% of small business owners reported the “inability to find employees with the right skills to fill key positions.” This was most pronounced for employers operating in the Northeast and for those who operated from two or more locations. Further, 58% of small business owners said they “strongly agree” or “agree” that “I worry about losing my best people from the firm,” and 62% said, “we often find it hard to fill important roles.”

With low unemployment, attracting top talent has become much more competitive. As we learned from our survey, this difficult hiring landscape can be challenging for small businesses because they must be able to attract workers who may also be considering higher salaries or richer benefits offered by larger organizations.

An organization’s talent is often a company’s only differentiator. High-performing employees always have options to move. To attract and retain the best available people in the market, providing competitive compensation and health benefits packages are the table stakes. But it takes more than this today. Employees are looking for opportunities for growth, development purposeful work, and to find a culture where they feel like they fit in.

When it comes to employee turnover, it appears that this is not a pressing issue for many small businesses, as 58% reported their annual rate of unwanted turnover to be less than 10%.

Annual rate of unwanted turnover

58% Less than 10%
24% 10% to 20%
12% 20% to 30%
6% Greater than 30%

A contributing factor to this may be that one in two of the small business owners who responded to our survey said they aim to offer competitive compensation, and more than one in four (26%) said they pay above the going rate to attract and keep the best people.

When looking at people policies and procedures, other issues noted as important but rated either a “minor problems” or “not a problem,” included “personal social media use during work hours” (72%), “legalization of marijuana” (74%), “sexual harassment” (81%), “employee portrayal of your business on social media” (83%), and gender equality (85%).

If you are interested to learn more about this survey and the implications for your business, download a free copy of the white paper.
Oasis supports small business owners like you in helping reduce the time they spend on burdensome HR administration, as well as helping you offer world-class compensation and benefits to employees. We’d welcome the chance to talk with you or you may reach us at 866-987-0428 or by visiting

Professional employer organization (PEO) services are sold and provided by Oasis Outsourcing, Inc. (Oasis) and its affiliates, which are registered and licensed to sell and provide PEO services, including in Florida. Oasis FL license numbers are Oasis Outsourcing, Inc., GL42; Oasis Outsourcing Admin Group, Inc., GL237; Oasis Outsourcing V, Inc., GL54; Oasis AHR, Inc., GL156; Staff One, Inc., EL194; Staff One of Oklahoma, LLC, EL456.

New Research: How Will These Workforce Challenges Impact Your Business?

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