‘Lack of skilled candidates’ restricting micro-business growth

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Difficulty in finding the right staff is hampering the growth ambitions of so-called “micro-businesses”, according to research published today by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The research found that despite more than half (55%) of micro-businesses (defined as those with fewer than 10 employees) looking to increase their staff numbers, exactly half said that they found it difficult to recruit the right people.

Almost half (47%) of respondents to the survey said they would not be confident that school leavers with A-levels or equivalent qualifications would have the necessary skills for their business, and less than a quarter (22%) said that they would be confident this would be the case.

Meanwhile, only one-third (36%) of respondents said they were very or fairly confident that university leavers would have the right skills for the job.

The report also found:

  • Only 2.5% of respondents are looking to decrease their staff numbers between now and 2015.
  • Less than half (40%) of micro-firms felt well informed about changes to employment legislation.
  • Thirty-nine per cent of micro-businesses stated that rules around dismissal were extremely or fairly burdensome.

Commenting on the report, Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the BCC, said: “Micro-firms make up an important part of our economy, and the fact that over half want to increase staff numbers is good news. However, for those wanting to take on more staff, finding the right person for the job can prove difficult.

“Despite high levels of unemployment, many micro-firms are frustrated by the quality of applicants for vacant roles. There is a real mismatch between business needs and local skills supply, with many businesses unable to find school leavers, or even graduates, with the right mix of skills. At a time when we need to fight hard for every new private sector job, Britain needs a skills system that delivers what businesses require. A courageous government must recognise this and put more control in the hands of employers when it comes to training the nation.”

For more information on recruitment, see XpertHR’s range of information and resources on the topic.

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