SMALL BUSINESSES STILL IN RECOVERY MODE
OPTIMISM FOR GROWTH; HIRING PROBLEMS
Seven years after the “Great Recession,” two-thirds (64%) of small business owners report their businesses are still in the process of recovering, according to a survey for Bank of America. The semi-annual nationwide survey by Braun Research found that only one in five (21%) state they have completely recovered from the recession.
However, despite these lingering impacts from the Great Recession, small business owners are still confident about the future growth of their businesses: 63% believe revenue will increase in the next 12 months (versus 62% last fall), and 66% plan to grow their business in the next five years. 67% of small business owners would rather delay or reduce their own compensation than take any other course of action to make ends meet. In fact, more than half (54%) of small business owners surveyed said they have either never given themselves a raise, or haven’t done so in more than two years. More women than men report having never given themselves a raise (23% of women, versus 15% of men). 85% of small business owners work more than 40 hours per week on average. Furthermore, 30% of respondents work more than 60 hours per week on average.
When it comes to their employees, small business owners overwhelmingly find the need to reward them and show their appreciation. Almost all (94%) say their companies have employee appreciation programs, including: Dinners and outings (46%); Spot bonuses (44%); Office recognition programs (35%); Extra time off (34%); and Off-cycle raises or promotions (25%).
46% of small business owners plan to hire additional employees over the next 12 months, down from 52% a year ago. One potential reason for this decline is that 41% are struggling to find qualified job candidates. They cite a number of challenges, including candidates who: Lack the skill sets they are seeking (59%); Have salary expectations that are too high (45%); Prefer to work for a large or midsize brand (29%); Want benefits they do not provide (26%).
As for those benefits—56% of small businesses offer employees flexible hours; 48% closing on major holidays; 46% paid vacation time; and 37% health insurance.
When asked about top economic concerns, small business owners once again cited health care costs as a top concern (70%) with the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders coming in as the second-highest concern (69%). Interestingly, while two in five small business owners believe required health care plans for employees would have the greatest negative impact on their businesses, another 23% believe they would have a positive impact.