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Sage SMB Hiring Outlook Survey: Demand Matters

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: May 31 2013

Sage recently announced the results of the Sage SMB Hiring Outlook Survey, which examined the hiring outlook of U.S. small and midsized businesses in 2013. The survey found that of the 973 businesses surveyed, 25 percent reported that they either have hired or will hire in 2013; 47 percent of businesses expect their staffing levels to remain the same in 2013, and 7 percent said they would decrease their staff in 2013.

The Sage SMB Hiring Outlook Survey found that the biggest factor influencing whether a small or medium-sized business (SMB) has hired or will plan to hire is increased demand for its products or services (81 percent). The biggest factor influencing those companies that have not hired or are not planning on hiring in 2013 is lack of demand for their products or services (40 percent).



Other factors influencing businesses to decrease or to keep the same size of workforce include: economic outlook uncertainty (39 percent), non-healthcare-related costs of doing business (26 percent), and "uncertainty in Washington" (20 percent).

In previous Sage surveys SMBs have repeatedly reported that taxes and regulations are a roadblock for their business growth. However, this survey indicates that while taxes and regulations are factors that influence hiring, the number-one driver is the demand for products and services or lack thereof.

Uncertainty in Washington, the Affordable Care Act (ACA, and also known as “Obamacare”), the minimum wage increase, and other issues are secondary. Of those companies that have hired or are planning on hiring this year, 82 percent will staff with full-time employees, compared to 29 percent of which will hire part-time employees. Ten percent plan to hire contract workers, and 19 percent plan to hire seasonal workers. The full US survey findings can be found here.

Some Industry Flavor

Sage also broke down the results by the manufacturing & distribution sector as well as the construction industry in the US and Canada combined.

The Manufacturing & Distribution sector highlights are as follows (full results are here):

  • Nearly one third of manufacturers and distributors plan to increase workforce size in 2013 as demand improves

  • Among these businesses in the U.S. and Canada who plan to add jobs, 83 percent cited a stronger demand for their company’s products and services, while 23 percent said an improved economic outlook is helping drive the decision.

  • 92 percent will seek full-time help, which seems to run against common speculation that the Affordable Care Act would dampen job growth, specifically affecting the hours of full-time employees


The Construction sector hiring highlights are as follows (full press release can be read here):

  • A third of employers in the SMB construction sector have hired or plan to hire in 2013; of those, 84 percent seek full-time help

  • Of those SMB construction firms who plan to hire, more than half aim to surpass 2012 hiring levels this year

  • Among SMB builders who hired in both 2012 and 2013, 53 percent expect to hire more employees in 2013 than they hired in 2012, and 41 percent expect to hire about the same


It is beyond dispute that providing benefits to employees costs many SMB owners dearly. Giving a living wage and benefits may cost SMBs more, but the cost to society will lessen, along with lower local government spending (on food stamps and other programs for underemployed and unemployed). Not to mention, better pay could result in better buying power, i.e., increased demand for products and services.
 
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