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As small business owners struggle to identify, attract and
hire qualified job candidates, they are putting more effort and investment
dollars into training and developing current employees, according to the
Bank of America Small Business Owner
Report released on April 29,
In addition, the report found that small business owners are
fairly upbeat about the U.S. economy and their business
“Small business owners are optimistic about the future and are
working extremely hard to achieve success,” said Robb Hilson, a small business
executive at Bank of America, in a statement. “As they have focused on recovery,
many business owners have embraced a mindset of self-sacrifice. They are
prioritizing their employees and customers above all else and it is often at the
expense of their own personal or financial well-being.”
When it comes to focusing on employees, the top priorities for
small business owners are hiring more staff and improving employee compensation
and benefits packages, the report stated, though survey respondents listed a
lack of qualified job candidates as their top recruiting and hiring challenge.
The scarcity of skilled applicants is in turn driving small business owners to
invest more in training and development programs, the report concluded.
“Citing difficulty in locating qualified candidates, small
business owners’ No. 1 priority for using loan capital is training and
developing their existing staff,” Hilson said.
Research shows that the number of small businesses seeking
loans is moving toward record levels. Small business loan approval rates hit
post-recession highs in March 2015, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending
Index—a monthly analysis of business loan
applications. The Bank of America report had similar results and revealed a more
than 10 percent increase in the number of business owners who had applied for a
loan over the past two years.
“We’re happy to say that small business owners’ confidence in
the economy remains steady compared with one year ago,” Hilson said. “In
addition, small business owners are optimistic about the growth of their
businesses over the next five years.”
To compile the data for the Bank of America report, employees
of Braun Research interviewed 1,000 small business owners throughout the United
States in March 2015. The small businesses participating in the study had annual
revenues of less than $5 million and employed fewer than 100 workers. An
additional 300 small business owners were surveyed in the nine target markets of
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San
Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Bill Leonard is an online editor/manager at
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