Small business industries that are itching to hire

Small business industries that are itching to hire

Andrea Vale
By Andrea Vale
Jan 19, 2024
1 min read

Individuals looking for work may want to search beyond well-known corporations and include small businesses in their job search.

Many small businesses are actively on the hunt for employees. In fact, according to a report by the National Federation of Independent Business, 40% of small business owners have job openings they need to — and want to — fill.

We used survey data from the National Federation of Independent Business to identify the industries where the highest shares of small businesses are hiring. In December 2023, the NFIB surveyed a random sample of 10,000 small business owners who are federation members, of which 518 responded.

The highest number of businesses with job openings for that period were in construction and transportation, the NFIB survey shows. Businesses involved in agriculture and finance had the fewest number of owners reporting open positions. Part of the difficulty small business owners face is finding qualified applicants, with 33% seeking skilled workers.

Many owners plan to draw in more applicants by increasing compensation for these open positions — a trend that has continued post-COVID.

For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recommends small businesses offer flexible work schedules and employee wellness discounts to remain competitive. These new benefits are meant to enhance the compensation that many business owners already offer, such as health benefits and paid time off.

Another NFIB report found that 9 in 10 businesses hiring or trying to hire had few or no qualified applicants. Those interested in construction or transportation — among the other industries hiring the most — may find the right fit with a small business.

In many industries, small businesses struggle to hire and retain employees.

Small business industries hiring graph 802x454

Transportation and construction businesses are most eager to hire

Transportation and construction are two sectors of small businesses seeking skilled workers. Some of these businesses help train prospective workers through education programs and apprenticeships.

The transportation industry will need to hire a younger workforce to fill positions. The U.S. Department of Transportation noted at the 2022 year-end review that approximately one-quarter (24%) of transportation workers were over the age of 55. Additionally, almost half (42.7%) of transit workers are over 55.

As these employees retire, younger workers will need to take their place. Transportation companies are also increasing their labor force. HireRight’s 2022 U.S. Transportation Spotlight Report lists “online job boards, employee referrals, and social media” as the most effective methods to connect transportation businesses with prospective employees.

The construction industry provides another opportunity for workers seeking employment with small businesses. A Feb 2023 article by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) stated that in 2024, 342,000 additional workers will need to be hired on top of the annual hiring figures to meet industry demand.

Older workers continue to age out of the industry, spurring efforts to make more accessible training and apprenticeship programs. For instance, in 2021, members of ABC invested $1.6 billion to educate people interested in construction.

How NEXT helps support small businesses

NEXT is 100% dedicated to small businesses. We help owners in over 1,300 different professions get the right business insurance to help protect and grow their businesses.

Simply, apply online, get a quote, choose your coverage and obtain a certificate of insurance in about 10 minutes. Access your policy via desktop or app 24/7 to adjust your coverage or share additional certificates of insurance with clients.

Get a free quote with NEXT today.

banner get business insurance in 10
Andrea Vale
About the author

Andrea Vale is a freelance writer and filmmaker, focusing on biodiversity and conservation. She has reported for National Geographic, USA Today, Oceana, The Oxford Scientist, The Oxford Climate Review, and many other publications.

What we cover
Chat with Us

Mon – Fri | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT

© 2024 Next Insurance, Inc. 975 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94304, United States
Better Business Bureau
Issuance of coverage is subject to underwriting. Not available in all states. Please see the policy for full terms, conditions and exclusions. Coverage examples are for illustrative purposes only. Your policy documents govern, terms and exclusions apply. Coverage is dependent on actual facts and circumstances giving rise to a claim. Next Insurance, Inc. and/or its affiliates is an insurance agency licensed to sell certain insurance products and may receive compensation from insurance companies for such sales. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the issuing insurance company. Refer to Legal Notices section for additional information.

Any starting prices or premiums represented before an actual customer quote are not guaranteed and are representations of existing premiums of active policies as of December 6, 2023. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten, not all applicants may qualify. Individual rates and savings vary and are subject to change. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only.