Almost half (46 per cent) of small businesses that are currently experiencing hiring difficulties have increased wages, while 27 per cent have increased benefits and 19 per cent have introduced a shorter work week, according to a new survey by Maru Public Opinion for ADP Canada Co.

It found while 79 per cent of small businesses that reduced their workforce in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been able to rehire employees, 33 per cent have had trouble finding workers and 46 per cent indicated the talent shortage grew because of the pandemic.

Read: Hybrid workers reporting stronger connections with colleagues, managers: survey

According to respondents, the top reasons for staff leaving are a better salary (32 per cent), wanting to make a career change (29 per cent) and to take on a more senior role (17 per cent).

Business owners surveyed said a better work-life balance (53 per cent) and more flexible schedules (48 per cent) are the top benefits of working for a small business, followed by a closer relationship with the owner and/or executives (40 per cent), a stronger team bond (36 per cent) and greater attention from management paid to their employees’ well-being and mental health (35 per cent).

“These findings and the rapidly shifting priorities of workers indicate that Canada’s small businesses are well positioned to compete when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent,” said Helen Vesce, division vice-president of service delivery at ADP Canada, in a press release.

“Small businesses can offer a welcoming, supportive and empathetic environment where employees can foster more personal relationships with both their colleagues and business leaders. This, combined with improved work-life balance, makes roles in small business more and more attractive.”

Read: Remote work, employee retention key issues for post-pandemic workplaces: surveys