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Small Business Hiring to Relieve Overworked Employees

Caution seems to be the name of the game when it comes to small business hiring. Still, however, a significant number of small businesses report they plan to hire in the second half of 2011. And, in spite of the cost of offering benefits to full-time employees, more companies will hire full-time employees than part-time or contract employees.

That's the finding of a new survey from CareerBuilder, which found that the biggest increase in hiring will likely come from larger businesses, but that small firms will also add to their payrolls before the end of the year.

The survey found that:

  • Among companies with 50 or fewer employees, 20 percent plan to hire full-time, permanent employees. That's an increase of 14 percent from last year.
  • Among companies with 500 or fewer employees, 27 percent plan to hire full-time, permanent employees, an increase of 21 percent over last year.
  • Among companies with more than 500 employees, 46 percent plan to hire full-time, permanent employees, up from 38 percent last year.

One possible reason for the hiring spurt may be that employers fear the improving economy will increase the chances of their overworked employees being lured away.

In fact, more than one-third of small businesses (36 percent) believe their workers are already burned out.  One-quarter (25 percent) are worried workers will leave their organizations as the economy improves and 10 percent of small businesses reported their top workers left their organizations in the second quarter.

Companies also plan to hire part-time employees, though at a much lower rate.

Those responses were as follows:

  • 50 or fewer employees – 9 percent hiring part-time employees, same as 2010
  • 500 or fewer employees – 11 percent hiring part-time employees, same as 2010
  • More than 500 employees – 19 percent hiring part-time employees, down from 21 percent in 2010

When it comes to contract or temporary hiring , businesses are also planning on an increase over last year.

Those results were:

  • 50 or fewer employees – 6 percent hiring contract or temporary employees, up from 4 percent last year
  • 500 or fewer employees – 8 percent hiring contract or temporary employees, up from 6 percent last year
  • More than 500 employees – 16 percent hiring contract or temporary employees, up from 13 percent last year

The jobs small businesses plan to fill are those on the front lines with customers and those driving innovation.  Customer service, information technology and sales remain in the top three spots for recruitment in the second half of 2011, with administrative and business development rounding out the top five.

Small businesses also reported challenges in competing with larger organizations for skilled talent.  Nearly one in five (18 percent) said they currently have open positions for which they can't find qualified candidates.


Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.