Survey: 51% of Small Business Owners Likely to Hire Again in 2021

Hard as it may be to believe, the first month of 2021 is now coming to an end — and what an eventful month it was. Not only did the United States swear-in a new commander in chief but a number of Americans also received the highly-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. It also seems that small business owners may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel as a new survey found that a slight majority of business owners foresee a return to hiring by the year’s end.

Recently, The Manifest surveyed 500 small business owners and managers (each running businesses with fewer than 500 employees) about their upcoming hiring needs. According to the responses, 51% of small businesses now say they are likely to hire new employees in 2021. This comes as respondents reported increased optimism that further government assistance will come and that the vaccine distribution will phase out the pandemic’s effect. Of those planning to hire, 27% anticipate filling 20 or more positions while the majority (71%) will likely hire fewer than 20 people during the year. At the same time, while just over half of those surveyed now expect to end their hiring freeze, one-third maintain that they are unlikely to do any hiring this year.

One factor small businesses are considering when deciding if they’ll be hiring in 2021 is whether or not they expect to see an increase in revenue. To that point, 63% of those planning to hire say they’re also predicting their revenues to grow this year. In this case, owners also report relying more on their specific business’s growth expectations rather than larger recovery metrics when determining when the time is right to hire again.

Also notable is that a significant number of small businesses intend to find information technology (IT) help this year. In fact, 35% of respondents say they will be hiring IT staff in 2021. This of course comes as demand for digital technologies has grown — including solutions for online sales as well as for managing remote teams of workers. Elsewhere, other common hiring needs include marketing/sales (31%) as well as customer service (29%).

As for how these small businesses intend to find candidates for soon-to-be-open positions, 58% said they’ll utilize social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Meanwhile, 31% report that they will use a staffing or recruiting firm to help fulfill their needs. Additionally, 30% of respondents say they will use HR software such as ADP or BambooHR to assist them with their search. This also means that many businesses will be tapping multiple mediums for their recruitment efforts.

While there is a long way to get before many businesses return to normal, it does seem as though many are now at least feeling more optimistic about the timeline in which milestones such as resuming hiring will occur. Of course, there are still challenges and hurdles ahead as we work toward those goals. Hopefully those stumbling blocks will be avoided as small businesses and all Americans recalibrate, setting a course for a brighter post-pandemic future.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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