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Business Sentiment Report Finds Hiring Pessimism Abounds Despite Positive Business Outlook

  • Human Resources
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 07/25/2018
Paychex Business Sentiment Report findings
Findings from a recent Paychex Business Sentiment Report reveal that while business owners are pessimistic about hiring, their overall business outlook is more positive. See what else we found in this report, and what business owners like you are doing to overcome these challenges.

Table of Contents

How can employers stand out in competitive job markets?

With unemployment rates down and highly competitive job markets driving up demand and salaries, it perhaps comes as no surprise that business owners are pessimistic about hiring, according to the first Paychex Business Sentiment Report.

The newly released poll data finds that on a scale of 1-100 with 1 representing the highest level of pessimism and 100 representing the peak of optimism, respondents felt uneasy about their hiring outlook, whether hiring temporary or contract labor (16/100), full-time employees (31/100), or part-time employees (31/100).

“We’re experiencing record-low unemployment in the U.S. and more than six million jobs remain open,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “Paychex employees who talk with clients and prospects everyday say businesses are feeling the crunch of the tight labor market. There is fierce competition for talent amongst both small and larger employers. If an employee isn’t feeling engaged, adequately paid, or afforded a competitive benefits package, they’ll leave and go elsewhere.”

Paychex Business Sentiment Report

Overcoming pessimism

Becoming an employer of choice, or a workplace that attracts quality job applicants, can seem like a daunting task — as evidenced in the Paychex Business Sentiment Report — but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to be the envy of your competitors. Here’s a look at how business owners like you are overcoming the odds. When it comes to recruiting and retaining employees, thinking outside the box may go a long way.

Back to school

Sean Blechschmidt found a resourceful way to look within his community to source eager talent. “Finding skilled people is always a struggle for manufacturers,” describes Blechschmidt, owner/found of Proto-Design, a high-tech OEM product development and services business in Redmond, WA. “We’ve worked with technical colleges for years to stay in the loop and support the programs getting people trained to enter the industry — with success.”

Consider, like Blechschmidt, researching and reaching out to the local technical, public, and private colleges and universities in your region. Many schools offer job fairs and other opportunities to get your business’ brand and employment opportunities out to enthusiastic young job seekers.

Read more about hiring recent graduates.

Changing channels

If insanity is doing the same action over and over and expecting a different result, then continuing to use the same recruiting tools and expecting new or better applicants might be, well, insane. Consider a new medium for reaching your desired talent pool.

“It has been difficult to fill positions in multiple departments including engineering, IT, quality production, etc.,” says HR manager Jennifer Kathawa of Drake Enterprises. “With not as many people applying for jobs as there used to be, we’ve been trying to seek out and recruit candidates. We’re trying (by) utilizing social media.”

Think social media doesn’t fit your business? With some small updates and thoughtful keystrokes, you might be surprised to learn the power of social media’s reach.

Learn more about how social media can help you build a better team.

Understand new regulations

Employment regulations rarely inspire optimism from business owners, but understanding the new and upcoming regulations affecting your industry or region may help hiring efforts.

“We have found it very difficult to get quality kitchen help based on what we can afford to pay,” says Debbie Thomas, owner and founder of Thomas Hill Organics, a farm-to-table restaurant in Paso Robles, CA. “The one change that will affect us positively is the new Shared Tip law. We can now spread the tips to our kitchen.”

From leveraging tax credits for hiring from certain demographics or capitalizing on changes in payroll regulations like Thomas did, staying informed about employee laws may help in unforeseen ways.

Get an overview of the latest regulations impacting the restaurant and hospitality industries.

Despite pessimistic outlooks surrounding hiring, American business owners are optimistic about the ability to find new customers, access to capital, and overall business outlook, according to Paychex’s recent study. Business owners and starters are sure to find unique and innovative ways to find and retain top talent during this challenging hiring environment.

About the Paychex Small Business Sentiment Report

Data included in the Paychex Small Business Sentiment Report was taken from the results of the Paychex Small Business Survey, administered by Bredin, a third-party research firm specializing in small business. The survey was conducted online between June 18, 2018 and June 27, 2018 and polled 500 randomly selected principals of U.S. companies with 1-500 employees. Results are representative of how small business owners feel, on a scale of 1 to 100 with 1 representing the highest level of pessimism and 100 representing the highest level of optimism. This Small Business Sentiment Report will be distributed on a trimester basis with new data coming in the fall 2018 and spring 2019.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.