Almost half (48 per cent) of Australian SMEs report the recruitment of skilled employees as a challenge for their business, potentially hindering their growth plans for 2018.
In a large-scale study commissioned and released by Indeed, one quarter of Australian SMEs cite recruitment as their biggest challenge, with 40 per cent believing it to be harder today than it was five years ago. This is despite two thirds of SMEs reporting that they are planning to expand their workforce in 2018.
Significantly, SMEs report recruiting as more difficult than attracting and converting new customers, which has traditionally been seen as a business’s greatest challenge. People management and keeping up with technological change also pale in comparison to recruitment.
The SME approach to recruiting
The two main approaches SMEs use to recruit are online job sites and word-of-mouth, but they deliver significantly different benefits.
Online job sites are the most popular as they offer speed, low cost and ease of use. However, one in five SMEs say they would like access to an account manager to help them manage the process and reduce the number of irrelevant applications they receive.
While recruiting via word-of-mouth is seen to deliver quality applicants, it is perceived as being slow and inefficient at generating a steady stream of candidates. Relying on word-ofmouth recruiting on its own can therefore take significantly longer.
Recruitment agencies are believed to deliver quality applicants, but at a significantly higher cost. And one in five SMEs feel that they would not receive the same level of service from a recruiter that a large corporate would.
It takes Australian SMEs an average of five weeks and $3300 to fill a position, with close to half spending more than $1000 each time. This represents a big investment for many smaller businesses.
How SMEs perceive themselves
More than three quarters of SMEs believe their business is an attractive place to work and consider their type of work, business culture, and career progression as the most important features to communicate to candidates.
Only 10 per cent of small businesses believe that highlighting additional perks and benefits to candidates is important, despite recent research from Indeed showing that these play a significant role in a jobseeker’s decision-making process.
Chris McDonald, Managing Director at Indeed, ANZ said, “Too many Australian SMEs find recruiting a challenge. They have access to fewer resources and compete with larger and more established companies for top talent. While this data points to the challenges small businesses can face, they need not despair. Thanks to technological advances, high-quality recruitment has been democratised.
“SMEs can now compete with the big guys and reach the most relevant talent at a cost that suits their budget. By understanding their company’s unique appeal and using tools that cater to motivated job seekers, SMEs can experience great success in recruiting quality candidates faster and at less cost. Making sure your jobs are listed on Indeed for free is a good starting point. Recruitment challenges needn’t interfere with an SME’s growth ambitions,” McDonald concluded.