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Why Small Businesses Need Hiring Support as the Holidays Approach

There’s no question that small businesses play an important role in the United States labor market, employing nearly half of all workers and contributing to 41 percent of all economic activity. However, small businesses are facing significant challenges right now to hire and retain qualified candidates.


Bridget Weston


We’ve all seen it: a favorite hometown restaurant closing early due to staffing issues or local retailers asking for patience as they struggle with being short-staffed. 

A recent data report by SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses found that hiring the right talent is the No. 1 challenge facing small business owners, with nearly two-thirds reporting unfilled job openings within the past six months. 

When asked what specific issues are making hiring so difficult right now, small business owners cite the need to raise salary and wages to be competitive (54.7 percent) as most challenging, followed by an inability to find qualified applicants (53 percent) and general lack of applicants (48.9 percent).

What do small businesses need right now? SCORE’s “Megaphone of Main Street: Small Business Jobs Report” found that entrepreneurs are advocating for additional, outside resources to recover from the pandemic and attract top talent, including better healthcare options for small business employers (51 percent), loan forgiveness/debt relief (49.9 percent), and better access to capital (41.5 percent). 

In the meantime, small business owners are doing what they can: 60 percent have increased wages and more than a third of those surveyed report offering professional training and skill development, and remote work options to attract and retain staff.

Finding support

America’s small business owners are demonstrating incredible resilience and perseverance in the wake of unprecedented challenges. 

SCORE client Jennifer Jones, owner of Cosmopolitan Plated, in Arlington, Virginia, is just one example. Her business, which offers in-person creative group cooking and food experiences, launched right as COVID hit and all social gatherings stopped. With guidance from her SCORE mentor Ed Coleman, she was able to find new ways to achieve her mission, developing new service options in the wake of COVID, including digital and hybrid classes.

Throughout these challenging times, SCORE is here to help small businesses with tools designed to help them succeed, including the Small Business Resilience Hub, expert mentoring, and free, on-demand educational resources. 

To learn more, visit SCORE.org

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