Small businesses have difficulty finding high-quality employees

Small businesses love their current group of workers, but struggle to find new candidates of the same quality and work ethic.

A Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey finds nearly three-quarters say the work ethic of new hires has deteriorated in recent years, and more than two-thirds say the quality of applicants has declined.

Read: Companies unprepared if star employees leave

“Canada’s small businesses will be the first to tell you that their employees are their greatest strength,” says CFIB president Dan Kelly. “But they are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified applicants, especially workers prepared to consider entry-level jobs.”

While 90% of small businesses say they can count on existing employees to get the job done, many employers report challenges when it comes to hiring new employees. The biggest barrier to hiring was a lack of qualified applicants (88%).

Read: Employees are overworked, burnt out

Half of small employers said wage expectations were too high; one-quarter reported that candidates didn’t even show up for scheduled interviews.

The survey results provide some insight on employees’ behaviours from the perspective of a small business owner.

On the positive side, 81% of owners say they’ve observed employees going the extra mile for a customer; on the negative, 61% say employees spend too much time on personal phone calls, emails and texting during work hours. Small business owners listed other drags on productivity, including: gossiping (55%), personal web surfing while at work (41%), and excessive lateness (40%).

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