SMEs hiring more staff than at any point in last three years

More SMEs are hiring staff earlier in the year than ever before, according to the latest figures.


The Voice of Small Business Index from the Federation of Small Businesses found that 15% of SMEs have taken on more staff in the third quarter of 2013.


Since the index began in 2010 this represents the highest figure reported and coincides with the latest labour market figures, which are also rising.


Meanwhile, SMEs will be able to cut their National Insurance contributions from April 2014 by up to £2,000, which should lead to further staff being hired.


The FSB research suggests that many SMEs will take advantage of the Employment Allowance to boost staff wages, employ more staff and invest in greater amounts of resources.


Many small firms can create a host of opportunities and drive growth, subsequently boosting the economy. However, there is an increasing need for government assistance.


With the current unemployment figures, it is more important than ever to drive people towards employment.


Nearly 900,000 have been unemployed for a year or more, while 960,000 young people are also out of work.


Research suggests that 88% of unemployed people enter work via an SME, a point that John Allen, national chairman of the FSB, feels should not be forgotten.


“Compared with a year ago, small businesses are employing more staff and are looking to expand in the near future,” he said. “This points to growing confidence from the UK's small businesses. 


“Our findings show that the Employment Allowance due to kick in next spring will have the desired effect. 


“Through the measure, small firms are looking forward to taking on more staff, expanding their businesses and rewarding existing employees for their efforts.”


“That said, the most recent unemployment figures show that long term unemployment, particularly among young people, remains a concern.”


By Phil Smith


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