92% of Small Businesses Poised To Continue Hiring — Why It’s Opportune for Job Seekers

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable male coffee shop owner hanging a "HIRING" sign in his window.
Charday Penn / Getty Images

The labor shortage that occurred in the wake of COVID-19 has been well documented, especially in terms of how it impacted the ability of large corporations to find and retain workers. Major employers ranging from McDonald’s and Walmart to Bank of America have had to offer higher pay and other perks just to fill their payrolls.

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Less attention has been paid to how small businesses have coped, but they faced the same challenges — and often had a tougher time of it because losing even one employee could have a huge impact.

The good news is, many small businesses have a positive outlook on hiring trends moving forward, according to a new survey from Homebase, which provides team-building, staffing and employee management services to small businesses.

The survey of about 400 small business owners, conducted in June, found that a majority of respondents (57%) believe that it will either be easier or about the same to hire workers a year from now, up from 45% in January 2022. A whopping 92% of local business owners anticipate they’ll continue to hire over the next year, with only 8% predicting that they will freeze hiring.

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Most respondents (58%) plan to hire one to five employees over the next year, an increase of roughly 20% compared to January. Another 11% plan to hire 16 or more new workers in the coming year. About three-quarters of the business owners surveyed currently have eight or fewer employees. 

“The competition for talent has been fierce for years, putting intense pressure on local business owners to hire, train, and retain teammates as they have also had to navigate through the complexities of running a business during the pandemic,” said Homebase CEO and founder John Waldmann in a press release.

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But while most of the pandemic challenges have eased considerably, small business owners still face numerous macroeconomic hurdles. One of them is skyrocketing inflation, which extends to wages. Meanwhile, leading indicators such as consumer sentiment, small business owner sentiment, GDP growth and corporate earnings are trending lower, creating uncertainty for small business owners. Oher concerns include rising rents and real estate costs.

For job seekers, however, the market is still very much in their favor. That’s especially true in sectors like entertainment and hospitality, which should benefit from pent-up consumer demand following nearly two years of pandemic restrictions.

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“Being able to again compete for more skilled workers is a huge opportunity for local businesses, especially when you recognize that businesses in the entertainment and hospitality space are outpacing other sectors’ growth, hiring at paces beyond pre-pandemic 2019 levels,” Waldmann said. “As Americans are hungry to gather and travel, the quality of these real-life connections relies on the service and skill of the teams on the ground to entertain, host, and serve.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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