Survey: Small biz has upper hand in hiring

What Small Businesses have to say about hiring.

Despite a glaring imbalance of resources for attracting employees, nearly half of small businesses feel they have an advantage over large companies when it comes to recruiting, according to a recent survey by McBain Associates and Advantage Payroll Services, an outsourcer for small business payroll services.

According to the survey, which was sent in April to 5,000 small businesses nationwide, 43% of small businesses feel they have a leg up on big-business recruiters because they can move faster and make quicker decisions. This advantage is also due in large part to the Internet -- three-quarters of small businesses polled have a corporate Web site, and over half of them use the Internet in recruiting. Outsourcing and employee leasing are also becoming attractive options, respondents said.

What helps reel in workers? Small businesses indicated the top factors in retaining quality employees are better health care plans, performance incentives and stock options. On the other hand, employee loyalty is a serious concern; 86% of small businesses claim "employee loyalty is becoming weaker," and that finding qualified employees is more costly and time-consuming than ever before. Flexible hours, vacations and the company's embrace of e-commerce were also listed as important factors.

Another interesting stat: 73% of small businesses believe that e-commerce "has dramatically changed the way most companies do business" -- but 65% said the Internet is perceived as being more important in business than it really is.