Talent still an issue for SMBs, insurtech Counterpart says

The skills gap is still a core challenge for small businesses, even as optimism about the economy recovers, according to insurtech Counterpart

Talent remains a major headache despite improving optimism about the state of the economy, US business leaders say.

Insurtech Counterpart surveyed more than 300 small business owners and CEOs as part of its Small Business Trends Report, and the findings show the problems facing those companies that make up the lifeblood of the American economy.

More than half (54%) say they are very optimistic about the outlook for their business, despite ongoing challenges. However, the aftermath of ‘the Great Resignation’ is continuing to pose a significant challenge, with 48% of respondents citing staff retention and turnover as their biggest concern, followed closely by recruitment and talent acquisition (44%).

Indeed, such is the scale of the problem, there are now more than 50 percentage points between those firms who are hiring and those that are firing. Just over four in 10 (41%) of firms surveyed say they are likely to conduct layoffs in the near future, while the overwhelming majority (92%) say they are hiring or planning to hire.

It has led to what Counterpart describes as a ‘rightsizing’ of the workforce.

Small businesses ‘sober to reality’, Counterpart says

There is evidence that, as the US’ headline rate of inflation continues to stay below 4%, businesses are beginning to move beyond the high inflationary period that defined the past year. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (64%) said it was the biggest challenge they’d faced in the last 12 months – almost twice the number that cited supply chain disruption as the biggest obstacle.

However, despite growing optimism about the state of the economy, nearly three-quarters (71%) of business owners are still concerned about inflation.

It is perhaps no surprise, then, that many of the businesses interviewed have been taking measures to protect their businesses from volatility and litigation. More than a quarter (26%) of CEOs and business owners say they have significantly expanded their business insurance coverage over the last year, Counterpart says, with almost two-thirds holding Employment Liability Insurance (EPLI).

“Small business leaders are incredibly resilient,” says Tanner Hackett, CEO and Founder of Counterpart. “They are very sober to the realities of the market after having to make some difficult decisions that impact their customers and employees, but maintain a positive outlook on their business and the economy.

“For example, the report indicates that they are simultaneously rightsizing  their operations with continued layoffs, while pursuing new talent that may be better aligned with the evolving market conditions and needs of the organisation.”

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