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Micro-businesses hope to grow, but struggle to recruit

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Micro businesses (those with fewer than 10 employees) want to grow, but find it difficult to recruit staff for the job. In a survey of over 2,000 micro businesses, over half (55%) are looking to increase the number of staff they employ, but half continue to find it difficult to recruit the right people.

This is according to a report published yesterday by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). It says micro businesses are vital to the success of the UK economy. These firms generate a fifth of private sector turnover in the UK, and employ a fifth of all its employees.

In light of the A level results (published today) respondents were asked how confident they would be that a school-leaver with A-levels or the equivalent would have the necessary skills for their business. Almost half (47%) said they would be fairly or very nervous; with only 22% saying there were very or fairly confident.

When asked the same question with regard to graduates, only a third (36%) of micro firms was very or fairly confident that university leavers would have the right skills for the job.

The report also found 55% are looking to increase the number of staff they employ before 2015. Only 2.5% are looking to decrease their staff numbers over the same period with one in five looking to double their staff numbers. Less than half of micro firms (40%) felt well informed about changes to employment legislation - and 39% of micro businesses stated that rules around dismissal were extremely or fairly burdensome.

Adam Marshall, director of policy at the BCC, said: "Micro firms make up an important part of our economy, and the fact that over half want to increase staff numbers is good news. However, for those wanting to take on more staff, finding the right person for the job can prove difficult. And for too many firms, burdensome employment legislation deters them from taking on staff in the first place.

"Despite high levels of unemployment, many micro firms are frustrated by the quality of applicants for vacant roles. There is a real mismatch between business needs and local skills supply, with many businesses unable to find school leavers or even graduates with the right mix of skills. At a time when we need to fight hard for every new private sector job, Britain needs a skills system that delivers what businesses require. A courageous government must recognise this and put more control in the hands of employers when it comes to training the nation."