Research reveals recruitment challenge faced by SMEs

Small businesses are struggling to appeal to senior level executives who see larger companies as the smarter choice, a new study finds.

Small businesses face a recruitment challenge as they are not seen as attractive to senior executives who prefer a larger employment base, according to new research.

The study from Norrie Johnston Recruitment (NJR) reveals that just 16 per cent of senior executives want to work for a small business. The majority of respondents (41 per cent) identified companies with between 100 and 500 employees as the ideal size to work for.

More than three quarters (79 per cent) of respondents believe that directors of small companies are paid less than their counterparts at large businesses, making it a much less attractive opportunity.

A third (66 per cent) think that career progression opportunities are better at large companies because of the greater network opportunities afforded to bigger brands.

More than a third (68 per cent) of respondents feel that larger companies offer a better work-life balance than smaller businesses that may require extra work at unsociable hours to keep the company afloat.

Graham Oates, chief executive of Norrie Johnston Recruitment, thinks that, despite the vast majority of respondents saying they don’t want to work for a small business,  it should be seen as an increasingly more viable option for senior level execs.

Oates adds, ’70 per cent of the senior level executives we surveyed agreed that they’re more likely to work for an SME now than at the outset of their career and 76 per cent said that senior executives of smaller companies have greater influence than those at large businesses. That says to me that, as we progress in our careers, we appreciate and want the different opportunities that SMEs can offer.

‘The recruitment challenge facing SMEs is how to harness this and reverse the perception that large companies offer the best opportunities as our careers grow. With small businesses making a very big contribution to our economy, it’s vital that they’re able to attract the very best senior talent to help them thrive.’

Further reading on hiring

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Freddie Halvorson

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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