This year, the economy is strong, unemployment rates are low, and businesses are hiring.
More than half of small businesses plan to hire in 2019, according to Clutch, and 57% report no plans to fire employees in the coming year.
Small businesses are eager to attract top talent, but have to provide compelling offers and opportunities to compete with larger firms. To compete in an increasingly competitive recruiting market, companies are offering better perks and higher pay, which benefits job seekers.
How, then, should candidates approach the small business job market in 2019?
This article explores five small business hiring trends in 2019 and how prospective candidates can best secure the job they seek based on small business needs.
- More Than Half of Small Businesses Plan to Hire in 2019
- Sales & Marketing, Customer Service Roles Most Popular
- Most Small Businesses are Offering Offer New Benefits
- Small Businesses are Hiring Mostly Long-Term Employees
- Small Businesses are Hiring Mostly for Entry and Mid-Level Positions
1) More Than Half of Small Businesses Plan to Hire in 2019
The economy grew by 312,000 jobs last year, and job openings exceeded unemployed workers by more than 1 million in October 2018.
Given the strong economy, more than half of small businesses say that they’re likely to hire new employees in 2019. If you are waiting to job hunt, now may be the time to dive in, as candidates have more power and options than many businesses.
Job openings mean options for candidates. Cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco are experiencing significant gaps in skill coverage, meaning coveted positions are available in urban hubs.
With qualified candidates in short supply, small businesses are ramping up their recruiting efforts. Expect companies to offer more robust benefits, competitive pay, and non-traditional perks such as location independence and additional paid time off (PTO).
As you search for a job, don’t hesitate to negotiate for the perks, paycheck, and the work-life balance you want.
2) Sales & Marketing and Customer Service Roles are the Most Sought After
Small businesses are hiring for positions that will allow them to gain and retain new customers. The odds are in your favor if you’re seeking a sales, marketing, or customer service position.
According to Clutch, more than one-third of small businesses will recruit people for their sales and marketing departments and customer service teams in 2019.
Companies are leaning into the expanding economy by hiring for growth-related positions.
Salespeople can generate demand for a product or service, marketers can orchestrate digital campaigns to entice customers, and service representatives can help retain those customers.
Experts also say that candidates savvy with marketing automation, software as a service (SaaS), and project management software are the most desirable.
Job seekers who help employers to achieve growth and operate software are highly sought-after in 2019.
3) Most Small Businesses Plan to Expand Benefits Offerings
Small businesses are augmenting their benefits packages to entice top talent in a competitive marketplace. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best benefits package.
More than half of small businesses plan to offer new benefits in 2019, according to Clutch. Of those offering new benefits in 2019, nearly one-third are doing so to fulfill employee requests.
In a job market that favors job seekers, benefits are increasingly important to employee retention and morale – and small businesses are beginning to recognize this fact.
“I think it’s just standardized practice,” said Matthew Burr, founder and president of Burr Consulting. “Vacation, PTO … all that stuff is expected in our society now. You’re not going to be able to recruit and retain people if [you don’t offer basic benefits]. It’s not going to work out in your favor.”
Small businesses most commonly provide health benefits, retirement and 401k plans, and paid time off (PTO).
Companies with fewer than 50 employees aren’t required to offer health insurance. Yet, if a company can, it should, as it’s the top-ranked benefit by workers, especially for older employees.
Millennials are now the largest share of the job market, though, and tend to prefer PTO to health insurance. A work-life balance is more important to younger workers than health coverage, especially for those under 26 who may still be on their parents’ insurance plans.
Keeping with this trend, nearly 20% of small businesses are considering offering PTO as a new benefit in 2019.
Job seekers should seek both fair pay and robust perks. Small businesses view benefits as a way to attract and retain talent who would otherwise work for larger companies, so look for benefits that maximize the value of your new position.
4) Small Businesses Are Mostly Hiring Full-Time Employees
Almost three-quarters of small businesses (74%) that plan to hire in 2019 say they’re looking for full-time employees. Only 40% of small businesses plan to hire part-time employees. Use this data as evidence to reinforce your decision to seek full-time employment.
Part-time hiring, a sign of economic uncertainty, has declined since the 2008 recession. Today’s economy is healthy, which leads to full-time hiring because companies feel stable enough to invest in the future.
Long-term hiring also benefits companies because consumers want to support brands that are value-driven, sustainable and possess a strong work culture – something that is easier to maintain with a full-time workforce.
5) Small Businesses Are Hiring For Entry and Mid-Level Positions
Small businesses are looking to hire people who can grow with their company.
More than half of companies will hire entry-level employees this year as well as mid-level employees (52%). By contrast, only 23% will hire for senior-level positions and just 14% will hire candidates with executive experience.
Job seekers must position themselves as adaptable to be considered for entry- and mid-level roles.
“You want to find the right skillset, but you also need to find that person who’s capable of wearing multiple hats,” said Lucas.
If you’re perceived as capable of assuming new responsibilities, you’re more likely to get hired and get promoted.
“That person, when they are wearing those multiple hats, may evolve to take a bit of a different path as that organization starts to grow,” Lucas said.
Given the abundance of lower-level positions, consider applying to smaller companies that are growing but not brand new. This way, you can assert yourself as essential within a developing, but not fragile, organization that offers both fair compensation and good benefits.
If you are applying for senior or C-suite positions, though, you should make sure to identify how you will fit in with the small business’ current culture.
Experts say that since many higher-level positions receive applications from multiple qualified candidates, they often look for more intangible aspects that indicate whether or not the job seeker will work well in the role – such as how well they will fit into the current team.
Small Business Hiring in 2019
The job market is strong and small businesses are competing for qualified employees.
Most companies are hiring and many are offering new benefits in hopes of attracting the top talent. The most sought-after positions are in sales, marketing, and customer service, and mostly for entry- and mid-level positions.
Job seekers can afford to be selective with job offers, especially those whose skills lend themselves to growth.