SMEs resigned to recruitment difficulties

2005

Smaller organisations are more relaxed about recruitment difficulties than their larger counterparts but still face real difficulties persuading talented managers and professionals to join them.

The Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI), produced by Cranfield School of Management and The Daily Telegraph, show that seven out of 10 organisations with fewer than 200 employees anticipate difficulties recruiting managerial and professional employees over the next six months, compared to more than eight out of 10 (85 per cent) of companies with over 1,000 employees.

This experience has been consistent over the past six years, with an average of seven out of 10 small organisations experiencing recruitment difficulties compared to nearly nine out of 10 larger ones.

But smaller firms report particular problems finding suitable recruits to fill IT, engineering, personnel and sales roles, where their difficulties seem much greater than in larger organisations.

David Molian, Co-Director of Credo, Cranfield's Centre for Small Business Growth and Development, suggested that the research could indicate that smaller firms are becoming more attractive places to work for jaded managers.

"It could be that the increasing emphasis on work-life balance is starting to work in the favour of smaller firms. Disillusioned corporate managers often find greater scope for their talents and more flexibility through downsizing their employer."

Nevertheless, he said, recruitment remains a headache for them.

"Recruitment is still a major issue for smaller firms, but much more so for those who are ambitious to grow. They consistently tell us that attracting, retaining and motivating talented managers is the key to accelerated growth - but it's also the biggest blocker on their firms' performance.

Overall, almost three quarters of organisations expect recruitment difficulties, particularly when it comes to recruiting sales people and engineers.

Senior level recruitment is also causing headaches, with more than four out of 10 (46 per cent) of organisations reporting problems, compared to only a quarter who are having problems at graduate level.

Overall, however, the message from the RCI is a confident one, with recruitment activity remaining buoyant. Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents expect to increase the size of their payroll, almost double the 24 per cent who expect to see staff numbers contract.

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