82% of SMEs struggling to recruit the right digital talent

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Small companies forced to pay more as employees who understand digital thrive

Four out of five (82%) SMEs are struggling to attract the skills they need to adapt to digitalisation.

As a result, many small businesses are being forced to offer salary packages higher than originally intended to compete for talent. Seven out of 10 businesses are paying more than they planned to secure the right candidate.

According to recruitment agency Robert Half, more than half of entrepreneurs (53 per cent) admit they can’t find candidates with the right skills to help them navigate an increasingly digitised business world.

SMEs lag behind larger companies when it comes to offering training – a key factor to retaining employees. More than three in four (76 per cent) of SMEs said staff wanted to leave if companies could not provide them with training – meaning talent is likely to be attracted elsewhere.

On the other hand, many SMEs are spending on softer benefits to reduce employee churn, such as a wellbeing programme or flexible and remote working.

Matt Weston, UK managing director of Robert Half, said: “The skills required are changing at a faster pace than their adoption among the mainstream UK workforce, creating a ‘buyer’s market’ for those who possess them. Attracting, securing and retaining the right talent will rely on faster hiring times, flexible recruitment strategies and competitive remuneration packages.”