Our Research: Workforce
While small business owners spend their days concentrating on whatever their particular specialty is--be it marketing services, dry cleaning or landscaping, there's one thing they all have in common: they have to contend with a host of larger issues ranging from employee pay and benefits, medical leave issues, nondiscrimination and more. These are issues they deal with often times on a daily basis, which means they know better than most what kind of solutions would be helpful when shaping public policy. The topics below clearly outline small business owners' opinions on these important workforce topics.
Policymakers at all levels, from town councils to the halls of Capitol Hill, emphasize the challenges of small businesses as a key talking point during political debates. But new opinion polling in four states—Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin—reveals small businesses feel their government officials don’t actually understand their challenges, and they support a wide array of policies to address their needs, some of which might come as a surprise to their elected officials.
The Colorado state legislature is considering a bill that would make Colorado the seventh state in the country to establish a program guaranteeing access to paid leave to care for a newborn child or a sick family member. Small business owners and their employees are particularly affected by the current lack of access to paid family leave as many small businesses can’t afford to offer robust benefits, putting them at a disadvantage with their larger counterparts. Small business has been central to ongoing debates over the legislation, and new polling sheds light on their views on the proposal and their struggles to offer access to paid family and medical leave benefits.
This report compiles findings from focus groups and roundtable discussions with rural small business owners and other small business stakeholders in four states, as well as the results of a national poll of rural small business owners. The report also features recommendations for policymakers and service providers to increase opportunities for rural entrepreneurs.
Recent scientific opinion polling reveals small business and freelancers need more flexible retirement options. The poll found small employers struggle to offer retirement benefits, and are increasingly turning to independent workers to meet their needs. Additionally, small employers overwhelmingly support state-administered retirement savings plans and other policies that would make it easier for them to offer retirement benefits.
Small Business Majority released a national scientific opinion poll—including oversamples in five states—that found small business owners oppose denying services to LGBT customers based on religious beliefs, rights to free speech or freedom of artistic expression. Further, the poll showed that a majority of small businesses support enacting federal and state laws to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in places of public accommodation. Small business owners feel that nondiscrimination policies are good for their state’s business climate and their own business’s bottom line.
Small Business Majority released a scientific opinion poll that found small business owners and their employees are impacted by a lack of access to high-quality, affordable child care. Further, the poll showed that a majority of small businesses support expanding federal programs to increase access to child care through both direct federal assistance and expanded tax credits to help working families struggling with the cost of child care.
Small Business Majority released a scientific opinion poll that found the majority of small businesses support publicly-administered paid family and medical leave insurance programs, which would allow employees to receive partial income when they need to take time off to recover from a serious illness or care for a new child or sick family member.
On December 15, Small Business Majority released a new scientific opinion poll that found a majority of Colorado small businesses believe business owners should not be allowed to deny services to LGBT individuals based on the owner’s religious beliefs, including for wedding-related services.
It’s no secret that big businesses struggle to find skilled and credentialed employees. But this issue also impacts our nation’s job creators: small businesses. New scientific polling shows small businesses around the country believe lack of education, experience and training is one of biggest challenges they face when it comes to hiring and employment, and they’re willing to act to ensure they have the skilled workers they need to run their businesses.
New scientific polling in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and New Mexico shows small business hiring of lower-level employees is diverse, but more can be done to increase diversity in the hiring of upper-management employees. Additionally, some small employers plan to hire or promote in order to increase the diversity of their high-level workforce within the next few years.