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Friday, 13 November 2015 11:59

Flexibility, culture not salary the key to attracting talent for SMEs: report


Small business owners put employment flexibility at the top of their list as the best way to attract valuable talent and give them an edge over larger, competitor companies.

According to a survey by cloud accounting firm MYOB looking at issues affecting small businesses – including how SMEs go about competing with bigger companies when looking for staff -  38% said employment flexibility was the key seller in attracting talent. And, 21% claimed that it was the culture that they provided that appealed to potential candidates.

MYOB CTO Simon Raik-Allen says this suggests that today’s small business owners are “appealing on the personal front - being a great place to work - rather than salary packages.”

“At a time when skilled workers are hard to find, this shows that bringing a bit of heart to the equation can inspire loyalty and win out over the big guys.

“SMEs do flexibility really well. We know it’s a major motivator in going out on your own. Making this part of your offer to employees is likely to give you the inside running in attracting quality talent.”

Raik-Allen also said that 38% of the SMEs surveyed revealed that when it came to the running of their new business, trial and error provided them with the best learnings, along with other important sources of information advice coming from accountants and financial advisors (32%) and professional networks, also at 32%.

“Start-ups are basically learning on the job, and tapping professionals around them for advice. When you combine this with our last SME Snapshot finding that showed that some 78% of SMEs think that you don’t need a degree to run a business, we can see a real opportunity emerging to provide practical training for entrepreneurial types.”

For good measure, MYOB also asked SMEs for their views on the change in Prime Minister in mid-September.

Raik-Allen said 45% of SMEs asked about the change in PM thought it would have no impact at all, “although this might reflect the warm reception the ‘SME package’ the Federal Budget received under previous leadership”.

“Some 35% thought Prime Minister Turnbull would have a positive impact on their perception of the government’s support for SMEs, while just 5% thought the impact would be negative.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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