With June’s national unemployment rate at about 8.2%, it should be very difficult to imagine a shortage of human resources in any workforce. This hypothesis is disproven in the “Marketplace” section of Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, which tells us that many “Small Firms Seek Skilled Workers but Can’t Find Any.”
The Journal polled 811 small business owners and chief executives. 31% reported that “they had unfilled job openings in July because they couldn’t identify applicants with the right skills or experience.” Furthermore, an astounding 41% of 154 small manufacturing firms surveyed reported being unable to find skilled and experienced workers. This figure is markedly different from the 30% of services business surveyed and 29% of retail businesses.
“We could grow a lot faster if we could find the right people,” one business owner lamented. Many businesses are forced to turn away new business for fear of being unable to provide sufficient service and support. Simply hiring one or two additional skilled workers could have a deep and long-lasting effect on growth in a small business.
So why not train employees? Unfortunately, one of the pitfalls of owning a small business can be a shortage of reserves for training new employees.
Staffing agencies can provide a remedy to the problem of skilled labor shortage, but what happens when staffers are unable to train their employees? These problems are merely symptoms of a greater cause: a lack of funding. Training-whether for a staffing firm or a small business-is an investment. How can you expect to invest in your employees’ skills if your cash flow is nearly stagnant?
If you cannot find the funds to train employees, your best option may be to factor your temporary staffing receivables. This is an easy way to access the cash you need to spur the growth you want. Skilled labor may be hard to come by, but a skilled small business factor or a skilled staffing factor may be right before your eyes.