Staffing posing significant problems for SMEs

Talent recruitment proving troublesome for start-ups with 30% taking six months to fill positions and skills at a premium

Staffing posing significant problems for SMEs

A business is as good as those who run it, or so the saying goes. It is of little consequence, therefore, that business execs and HR managers – when seeking the cream of the crop – list some very stringent skills requirements for certain jobs. Perhaps these strict requirements provide an explanation as to why SMEs are struggling to find the appropriate talent for their business.

A new survey from Startup Institute, the career accelerator, found over half (55%) of the founders and start-up executives agreeing that it is difficult to find talent. Meanwhile, just under a quarter of respondents strongly agreed that this was a critical issue for their companies. Web development was cited as the most sought-after skill for 38% of respondents with the survey also revealing that demand for technical roles was much higher than that for non-technical roles. And it seems that such difficulties are impacting on the length of time that employers are spending on the recruitment process; 30% of start-ups said it took them more than six months to fill a position.

Of course, staffing issues can be a problem for any organisation but for smaller enterprises, they can prove particularly troublesome. This is demonstrated by the 41% of surveyed start-ups that cited it as the primary reason for the business failing. Such failure is put down to either teams lacking the skills to execute on ideas, an inability to collaborate effectively or quite simply not being able to find the right talent.

There does appear to be significant room for improvement here, especially when one considers that only 30% of start-ups said that they have a structured internal training programme, whilst another 62% said that they don’t have any formal training for new recruits at all.

“It is alarming to see the extent of staffing challenges in the start-up community,” said Aaron O’Hearn, founder of Startup Institute. “While there is much talk about start-up hubs thriving, there is a real danger they won’t reach their full potential because the talent pipeline is not strong enough. 

“This is a worrying trend and it’s important to bring this to the public’s attention as high-growth technology companies continue to play a bigger role in the economy.”

The survey certainly highlights some clogs in SMEs’ recruitment procedures that are in dire need of  attention and repair. 



Dara Jegede
Dara Jegede

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