Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sole Traders & Partnerships not keen on becoming Employers?

There was a snippet on BBC Breakfast News this morning, related to small businesses unwilling to create jobs because the employment laws are too complex.

As the owner of a small business established over 20 years ago, I have shied away from becoming an employer, preferring instead to combine forces with other small businesses or self-employed people. There are many reasons why this suits me because, whilst my services are geared to helping small businesses to grow, plans for my own company do not include expansion beyond current capacity (ie, using my network of business contacts).

However, somewhat hypocritically, helping the UK economy and local job-seekers is a cause I believe in. Would I be tempted to employ someone - albeit part-time - if it was easier to do so? Here are some of my fears of becoming an employer:

  • finding the right candidate with the right attitude (without breaking discrimination laws)
  • the need to sustain almost 100% increase in current business
  • time/effort to be spent on employment issues (time/effort not spent on core business) 
  • hours and hours of one-to-one training
  • how to cover the extra work during holidays and sickness
  • and, if it doesn't work out, redundancy or dismissal can be costly and messy

I needn't go on. I'm convinced that this is not for me. But, for small companies with greater and sustained growth plans, there should be financial incentives as well as business support. I am aware of possible grants for training plus local networks and organisations that offer advice and business support but not of meaningful incentives for small businesses to employ someone currently receiving job-seekers allowance.

Regarding the Government's wish for UK business to employ UK residents rather than opportunists newly arrived from overseas, how about financial incentives such as paying the equivalent of 3 months job-seekers allowance to the employer, providing the person is still employed after one year?

The real problem, though, is attitude. People coming from overseas are willing, desperate, to work and will often make great efforts to contribute to the success of the company whereas, unfortunately, the attitude of some Brits stinks! Whether this is a lack of confidence in themselves or over-confidence that the 'system' will or should look after them, I don't know. Either way, as I said, not for me - but don't let it stop you!