Small Businesses Just Can’t Seem to Fill These Jobs

Date: April 15, 2016

Try as they might, owners across the country are struggling to find workers.

There’s a skills shortage in the U.S.

Many small businesses are struggling to fill specialized positions, making it a challenge to staff their companies with capable workers, according to’s ranking of “The Hardest Jobs for Small Businesses to Fill.”

Professions such as surgeon, tailor, tax preparer, and carpet installer make the employment site’s top 10, showing a lack of specialized skills in the current crop of job candidates.

Read NFIB’s full jobs report to get the latest on small business.

Some experts say a changing workforce is to blame for the shortage.

“As baby boomers retire, millennials are not stepping in to fill these trade jobs, making it even more difficult for businesses of all sizes to fill these roles,” said Tara Sinclair, chief economist at Indeed in a Small Business Trends article.

Trade jobs that might not require a college degree but still require specialized training, such as construction and interpreting jobs, are seeing the greatest dearth of competent workers, according to the report. 

NFIB’s most recent jobs report corroborates these troubles. According to March data, business owners report that finding qualified workers is the third “single most important business problem” right now. Forty-one percent of businesses said that there weren’t any suitable candidates to fill their open positions. 

“Workers are being disqualified for positions because of their social skills, appearance, and attitude as often as poor work history and lack of specific skills,” said William C. Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist in the report. 

But there are ways for small business owners to attract top talent. Offering on-the-job training is a nice compromise for employers and employees. It gives employees time to adjust to a new work environment while the business gets the skilled personnel necessary to run smoothly, Sinclair noted.

Making the company an appealing place to work is also important to woo in-demand workers, Sinclair said. Offering perks and competitive compensation can dramatically increase the likelihood of landing the top talent. 

Owners might also consider working with freelancers instead of hiring a full-time employee. Nearly 54 million Americans work as freelancers, according to a 2015 study by research firm Edelman Berland. 

Expanding the candidate pool is one more way to increase the likelihood of finding a qualified worker to contribute to a business and gain a competitive edge.


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