No. 1: Sales and marketing personnel (57 percent cited these are their top need)
No. 2: Skilled labor (45 percent cited these are their top need)
No. 3: Service/customer service (36 percent cited these are their top need)
But if two-thirds see a strong business climate ahead, why are just roughly half planning to hire? Economic uncertainty, the survey by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management revealed.
That’s the No. 1 reason that some private firms aren’t committing to hiring new staff. The hangover from the last recession still has businesses skittish about long term economic planning, Pepperdine said, and so many employers will take a wait-and-see attitude toward hiring.
The private company survey showed that virtually all these businesses, regardless of size, want to prepare and execute growth strategies. But the smaller ones — those with less than $5 million in revenue — report that they don’t have the internal capacity to pull it off at present. And while commercial low rates are reasonable, many businesses foresee problems qualifying for the money they need to grow.
“The good news for businesses trying to expand is that interest rates continue to fall for commercial loans of nearly every size,” said Craig R. Everett, director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project and assistant professor of finance at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. “This low interest rate environment makes expansion very affordable for those firms that qualify for these loans. Unfortunately, getting access to these funds remains much more challenging for small businesses than it is for the middle market.”