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Poll: Small Businesses Finding It More Difficult to Hire Than Four Months Ago

  • Poll from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife finds that nearly half of small business owners actively hiring are having difficulty finding job candidates, up from 34 percent in June
  • Respondents were also finding it more challenging to fill open jobs and compete for talent
  • While a majority of small business owners were in support of those requiring workers or customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a smaller share had established such requirements at their own business

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Small business owners are facing greater challenges in finding workers than they did four months ago, according to a recent poll by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. The survey also found that a majority of small business owners were in support of businesses requiring their workers or customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, though few had implemented such requirements on their own.

The survey, issued between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, found that 49 percent of small business owners who were actively hiring said it was difficult to find job candidates, up from 34 percent in a June survey. Forty-four percent said it was difficult to fill open positions, up 10 points from four months ago. Forty-two percent said it was hard to compete for talent, up from 26 percent in June.

“Small businesses are ready to hire, ready to welcome back customers, and support vaccinations to keep customers and employees safe,” said Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “However, the worker shortage crisis threatens the economic recovery of Main Streets across the country, and many small business owners have simply given up on finding new staff. Congress needs to focus on making it easier for small businesses to hire the people they need to grow, compete, and thrive.”

  • 58 percent of respondents said they’re likely to hire this year, up 10 points from June; however, only 36 percent said they were actively hiring, comparable to June’s figure of 33 percent
  • 64 percent said they support small business owners in their area who require their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine, while 60 percent supported those requiring customers to show proof of vaccination
  • 51 percent said they are likely to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination from their customers, up from 38 percent in June, but only 10 percent currently require it (up from 3 percent in June)
  • 61 percent said they are likely to or already require their staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19; 43 percent said they would likely replace workers who defy vaccine requirements, but only 10 percent have already done so
  • Businesses with lower vaccination rates among their employees were more likely to expect that the small business climate will never return to normal

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