Small Business

Small Businesses Struggle To Find Skilled Workers

A good man is hard to find, some women say. For small business owners, the lament also applies to good workers.

Roughly one in three small businesses -- including 41 percent of small manufacturing firms -- had unfilled job openings in July because they could not find workers with the right job skills, according to a new survey by the Wall Street Journal and Vistage International.

Meanwhile, 12.7 million U.S. workers are unemployed. There have been more than 3 million job openings in the U.S. every month since February 2011, according to Labor Department data cited by Bloomberg News.

The WSJ/Vistage International survey isn't the first to point out the problem. A recent ManpowerGroup survey cited by Bloomberg News showed nearly half of all U.S. employers said they couldn't find the right workers to fill their job openings.

Though they may be having a hard time finding skilled workers, small businesses may be just as reluctant to train unskilled workers. U.S. employers are less likely than foreign companies to invest in training, according to ManpowerGroup.

That could be because small businesses see training new hires as a losing deal. Workers who get trained by their employer choose to stay only if there are promotional opportunities ahead, according to a recent study. At some small businesses, where there can only be so many managers, it may be difficult to entice newly trained workers to stay.

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