Good news for job seekers: SMEs looking to increase headcount

15 per cent of SME owners are expecting to increase their head count by up to 10 per cent this year, a new study reveals.

New Year, new job is a mantra that many employees follow in January, with more than half of the UK workforce looking for a new job in 2017 according to research by Investors in People. The good news is that SME owners are looking to capitalise too.

According to new research from Opus Energy, 15 per cent of SME owners are expecting to increase their head count by up to 10 per cent this year, with another 10 per cent of respondents looking to grow their staff headcount by up to a fifth.

With 19 January being coined as the day we’re most likely to give up on our New Year’s resolutions, Opus Energy has put together three ways that job hunters can secure the new role they crave based on first hand SME guidance. This way they won’t have to give up on their resolution before the start of February and can start 2017 as they mean to go on.

Show you can drive the business forward

Following a turbulent 2016, SME owners are looking to grow their revenue via new business wins (38 per cent) and also grow their business with existing clients (47 per cent). On top of this, a further 12 per cent are looking for growth through new product development to disrupt the market. As such, job seekers need to demonstrate the immediate value they can add to their potential new employer.

Be this new business contacts, new product development or just the ability to drive the day to day, job seekers would be wise to showcase these abilities at the top of their CVs and during the interview process. And on top of this, if job seekers have a network of prospects they would do well to reveal this detail early on in the process.

SMEs need skills

Fifteen per cent of SMEs see the skills shortage as a barrier to growth. Additionally, 20 per cent said a better skilled workforce would give their business the biggest boost over the next two years. With competition also a worry for 30 per cent of SME owners, job seekers need to demonstrate what skills, both academic and soft, they will bring to the business. Be it technical or knowledge-based, SME owners need expertise to help them take their business to the next level in 2017.

Tackling talent

SME owners are always looking for their talented staff to remain loyal, and with 21 per cent of SMEs focusing on staff retention over the next two years, those who are looking for a new role will be well looked after.

Twenty five per cent of SME owners say they are focusing on better training for staff and 23 per cent vow to improve leadership from the top. Therefore, job seekers looking for career development could well get it from UK SMEs, so it’s worth highlighting on CVs achievements and how they match the aim of the business being applied to.

Andy Nash, operations director for Opus Energy comments, ‘January is a good time to start looking for a new role as it gives a purpose to the start of the year. Employers want great people who are committed to their cause of driving the business forward and most importantly employees who will remain loyal. This is even truer in small enterprises, as growth and success can come more quickly, allowing job seekers to get under the skin of the business and start with a bang.

‘Showcasing key skills within a CV and during the interview process and specifically how these skills will immediately help the business is essential – and job hunters shouldn’t be afraid to be confident in demonstrating how they would do this.’

Further reading on job seekers

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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