Hiring new employees is a top priority for SMEs, research shows

Hiring new employees is a top priority for SMEs, according to research from American Express conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The research found that SMEs believe that investing in new staff is the key to boosting business growth, with 23 per cent stating that taking on new talent has been their biggest decision after launching their business, followed by choosing suppliers (20 per cent) and investing in technology (19 per cent).


The survey highlighted the barriers that SMEs face when it comes to hiring new staff, with 35 per cent citing a shortage of applicants with the right expertise as the main challenge.

SMEs are also worried about funding the hiring of new staff, with this being cited by 27 per cent of respondents. However, hiring new talent is still a priority for SMEs despite these challenges, with 22 per cent saying that the first investment that they would make if their revenue doubled would be to increase their staff.

American Express offered tips to SMEs to help them tackle the growing costs of taking on new staff, advising them to incorporate hiring into their overall growth strategy and re-evaluate their hiring budget.


American Express Senior Vice-President Jose Carvalho said that there are many hurdles on the path to business growth, and securing top talent is the key priority for ambitious SMEs.

Whether businesses intend to expand at home or internationally, owners are seeking partners that will assist them in attracting and retaining staff. Carvalho added that “SMEs want hassle-free solutions which help ensure they are in full control of their cash flow.” Either through payment cards which allow for rewards earnt on business spending to be gifted to employees, finding management solutions to employee expenditure, or through cross-border payment applications which ensure smooth payment transactions to employees based overseas, SMEs now have a growing repertoire of tools with which to tackle the demands of business expansion.

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