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UK SMEs planning to hire again this year

New research has revealed that one in three small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are planning to take on more staff in the coming months.

The research - put together by online auction site eBay - also showed that men and women leading the way in the U.K.’s thriving small business culture often have different attitudes to hiring than more traditional businesses.

eBay’s Employee Skills Index, which was released in partnership with YouGov, suggested that practical skills gained through hands-on experience are considerably more valuable to small and medium-sized businesses than more traditional accomplishments such as degrees. Indeed, 70 per cent of SME recruiters described a degree as ‘unimportant’.

A strong grasp of marketing and advertising remains a desirable skill, with some 61 per cent of SME bosses favouring candidates possessing it. Just over half of SMEs, meanwhile, place importance on a candidate’s ability to use social media, seeing it as an increasingly vital part of marketing in general.

Digital skills as a whole continued to be favoured by over half (51 per cent) of recruiters, with coding also favoured by around 41 per cent. Small businesses especially are seeking to bring this kind of expertise in-house in order to take advantage of the huge potential found on the web.

The index also revealed that the majority of SME employers are unbiased regarding age, and place far more importance on valuable experience. This was also borne out by the positive figure that 900,000 more 50 to 64-year-olds are in work than in 2010.

Tanya Lawler, vice president at eBay UK, said: “The nature of business, especially online retail, is changing rapidly.

“Our business-savvy SME community is on the look-out for versatile talent, regardless of age, background or gender, with the personable skills and life experience to help them develop and grow.”

“It’s good news for the online retail space and for new hires as recruitment picks up in 2016.”

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