Small business challenges

Talent and people
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The pandemic will continue to impact businesses this year. In what the media have dubbed “The Great Resignation", almost a quarter of businesses have vacancies for low-skilled roles and are struggling to fill them. Holding on to good staff will be more important than ever this year.

Competition in the job market is so intense that business leaders can never relax. There’s a continuing need to ensure that staff are fulfilled in their jobs, with competitive pay and a good work-life balance.

The pandemic's effect on talent and people

The past year saw staff losing their jobs across all sectors, as furlough schemes and other forms of government financial support ended.

A staggering 55% of accountancy, banking, and finance businesses surveyed said they relied on the government’s furlough scheme to pay staff and are worried about the year ahead if no support is available. 51% in the business and consulting sectors agreed.

I had to let staff members go due to the pandemic

I used the furlough scheme during 2021, and am concerned about restrictions being brought back without government support

Which industries struggle to retain good staff?

Staff retention will be a concern for many in 2022, so businesses need to consider employee incentives. Training has an important role to play, yet 26% struggle to offer training to staff across different disciplines.

The finance sector and creative industries appear to be the worst affected, with 40% saying they struggle to offer training to staff.

This is also an issue for 31% of businesses in law and security, and for 30% of healthcare and retail organisations. It’s no surprise that retention is also a concern for these industries.

In which industries do leaders and business owners report a good work-life balance?

Only 13% of business owners and leaders say they have a good work-life balance. The survey research revealed that the number of rest days and total hours worked in a week are huge factors in this.

Only a third (35%) of owners and leaders manage to have two work-free days per week, and less than a quarter work 48 hours or less in a week. Coronavirus appears to be playing a role in this.

A massive 87% of owners and leaders are working longer hours during the pandemic.

Diversity in the workplace

Proactivity around diversity in the workplace and supporting females have both decreased since last year, perhaps because the pandemic and hiring difficulties are distracting leaders from this area.

Yet it seems clear that diversifying the workforce and supporting women in the workplace are great ways to improve staff retention and make workplaces more appealing to candidates.

Let’s hope that both can become bigger priorities for leaders in 2022.  

I proactively diversify the talent in my workplace

I proactively try to support women in the workplace

The four-day working week debate

Implementing a 4-day working week would positively impact my business

Changing to a 4-day working week would negatively impact my business

Businesses are beginning to see the benefits of a four-day working week. Over a third say it would have a positive impact on their business. This has risen by 5% since last year, while the number who believe it would have a negative impact has decreased.

Technology and practices implemented by businesses during the pandemic are factors likely to have affected this shift, and companies are continuing to adapt.

The most optimistic sector was retail (42%). Followed by; hospitality and events, leisure, sport and tourism, insurance and pensions, marketing, advertising and PR. Where 40% see it as a ‘positive’ change for their businesses.

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