Staffing Challenges 2021 edition: Hiring Employees Remains Difficult



According to an October 2021 survey of roughly 500 small business owners and operators by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife, businesses continue to face deep challenges in fulfilling their labor needs.


If you’re among those struggling to hire and retain employees during the pandemic, you likely face the dilemma of (1) missing the capability to fulfill orders on a timely basis due to shorthanded staffing or (2) increasing employee pay without being able to fully share these higher costs with your customers.


As a staffing agency with deep knowledge of our local markets, feel free to reach out to us to get a better gauge of what options may exist.


  • Nearly half (49%) of small businesses that are actively hiring say it is hard to find candidates with the skills they need, a significant jump from 34% saying so in June.
  • Small businesses that are actively hiring also are finding it harder to fill open jobs (44% vs. 34% in June) and compete for talent with larger businesses in their area (42% vs. 26% in June).
  • Although more small businesses say they are likely to hire new employees this year (58% vs. 48% in June), there was little change in the percentage of small businesses that have actually initiated the hiring process (36% vs. 33% in June).
  • A majority (64%) of small business owners support businesses in their area requiring vaccines for their employees — with both the Biden administration’s proposed mandate and business-initiated mandates receiving equal support.
  • More small business owners are implementing vaccine requirements for customers than in June, before the Covid-19 delta variant worsened the pandemic in the U.S.
  • Three in five (61%) are likely to or already require staff to be vaccinated.
  • Sixteen percent (1 in 6) of small businesses with at least half of their workforce vaccinated expect a return to normal within three months, compared with 6% of small businesses with low staff vaccination rates.
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