Almost half of all smaller enterprises require external assistance with hiring and personnel management, a new report has found.
A study by Direct Line for Business examined the external skills called upon most regularly by smaller firms. Usually hired on an ‘as needed’ basis, these are consultants – and those whose skills too costly to retain permanently/ The top of the list contains some fairly familiar professions.
Overall, accountants are the most sought after external talents called upon by SMEs (66 per cent). IT specialists (including web experts) placed second (55 per cent). And 52 per cent of smaller firms need a lawyer.
But next most requested outside skills were those of HR professionals. 42 per cent of Britain’s smaller enterprises have needed assistance with hiring and staff management, it was found.
How your skills make a big difference to small firms
While start-ups and smaller firms are not always in a position to retain needed skills on a full-time basis, the impact and value of those consultancy skills are no less important to their survival. And the data reminds those working within recruitment of those specific skills which Britain’s SMEs value most of all.
So, what are the biggest benefits of hiring a hotshot HR professional?
Among the most significant contributions to business success are the old favourites: reduced costs, and improved retention rates.
In fact, the two go hand-in-hand. An unsuccessful placement can cost a firm thousands in wasted resources. Poor retention demands a firm repeats its hiring processes until it gets them right. It is easy to see how hiring can quickly become a resources ‘black hole’ if the right process isn’t put in place at the start.
In fact, the data finds that the impact of outside specialists is almost entirely positive. 95 per cent of small business owners saw improvement and positive outcomes from their hired consultancies.
Despite this, 22 per cent of organisations that took part said they had never used any outside experts or consultants. However, these enterprises were still counted against the total. It means that, among firms that do hire outside help, the appetite for hiring skills is perhaps even higher.
Opportunities for recruiters – but a warning, too
And research finds there is even a ‘hidden’ market for consultancy skills. Although the average time to take on outside help was 18 months after forming a business, one quarter (25 per cent) of SMEs reported that they had actually brought in consultancy skills before trading. This means there are significant earnings going unclaimed when firms only seek new clients among established firms.
Of course, we recognise that not every potential client is an established name. But it can be easy to prioritised the apparent “sure-thing” of a tried and tested customer base. However, the data in this report provides some evidence of the significance of the start-up.
But there is also a warning for recruiters, too.
42 per cent of small businesses may require a recruiting firm. But 58 per cent are providing their own staffing and recruitment solutions. In this respect, it seems recruiting consultants still have some way to go in demonstrating their value offering to some, in-house hiring teams.