In the Spotlight


The breakout headline of this quarter’s Index is that half of small business owners think job candidates are not properly prepared for the workforce. It is the second time in as many quarters that finding skilled workers has emerged as a concern for small businesses, with fewer than half (39 percent) of respondents describing the quality of potential hires as “good.”

Small businesses with a negative impression of job candidates are 25% less likely to increase staff over the next 12 months. Many small business owners believe that workers lack fundamental qualifications—such as grammar and mathematical skills. Others emphasized a strong need for workers with vocational training. The difficulty employers have in filling jobs due to a lack of necessary education and training is what is commonly referred to as the skills gap.

The Q3 Index results help to demonstrate how America is becoming a nation of jobs without people. Recent government data bolster this contention. In June, the Labor Department reported that the number of job openings rose to a record high of 6.2 million.

Solving the skills gap will require a coordinated effort among business, civic, and education leaders at the federal, state, and local levels. With a larger pool of well-educated and trained workers, small businesses will be able to hire more people, increase revenues, better serve customers, and improve the economy.

I am noticing that grammar and written communication skills are not very good. I would like to think that people coming out of school would have fundamental math and English skills.

CFO, The Northwest Company
Roslyn, New York

I believe a barrier to industry is the slowly deteriorating pool of skilled laborers. College is not for everyone. We need more vocational and tech training. Our society feels a college degree should be obtained by everyone, and it shouldn’t. [We’re] all different, and we have all different talents.

Owner, Maison de Reve Builders
Covington, Louisiana

Business and education have to work together. If we could work together with the academic community, we’d get a lot more done.

President, Alpha USA
Livonia, Michigan