42% of Small Businesses Have Open Positions They Can't Fill

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on May 2, 2021

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If the job market is so poor, why are there so many small business openings?

We keep hearing about how the U.S. job market is still in crisis mode, and how the unemployment rate is still way higher than it was before the pandemic began. That's all true -- the jobless rate is still high and in some industries, work is difficult to come by. But surprisingly, as of March of 2021, 42% of small businesses said they had open positions they weren't able to fill, according to an NFIB survey. Not only that, but 22% of small businesses said they're planning to hire staff rather than cut back.

If you've been out of work, or if you're a soon-to-be college graduate in need of an income, then it pays to look into applying for a job at a small business. Here are some of the perks you might enjoy if you do.

1. You won't just be a number

When you work for a large corporation with thousands of employees on its payroll, it's hard not to feel like a cog in a machine. But when you work for a small business, you have more of an opportunity to not only stand out, but also, feel like an actual person. In a small business environment, you may be more comfortable sharing your opinions and soliciting feedback. And you might really feel like your contributions actually count for something.

2. There may be a lot of room for growth

When you work for a large employer, it can be difficult to climb the ranks. But if you work for a small business, you may have an easier time taking on more responsibility and earning yourself a promotion. Larger companies tend to strictly define people's roles so there's no confusion as to who does what. But if you work for a company with a staff of 15, those roles can be more fluid, and that could work to your advantage.

3. The compensation may be better than expected

You might assume that if you work for a small business, you'll earn less than you would at a larger company. But that's not necessarily true. Just because a business employs fewer people doesn't mean it's not in the practice of compensating them generously. In fact, some small businesses have less overhead than larger ones and can pass that savings onto employees in the form of attractive pay.

How to find a job at a small business

It's common practice for small businesses to list job openings on popular sites like LinkedIn, so those could be a good starting point. But also, network around. The more people you talk to, the easier it'll be to learn about small business openings. You can also check with your local chamber of commerce to learn more about the small businesses in your neighborhood -- and then reach out to see what opportunities exist.

At a time when so many people are desperate for work, it's odd to see that small businesses have so many positions available. If you need a job, it could be worth applying to a small business with a role that seems suitable for you. The sooner you get a job, the sooner you can build some savings, pay off debt, and just plain function as a financially-secure adult.

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