Small Business Construction Firms Hiring: Sage

The Sage survey found SMB builders plan to add jobs as a result of increased demand for their products and services and an improved economic outlook.

Small to midsize builders in the United States and Canada plan to add jobs as a result of increased demand for their products and services and an improved economic outlook, the Sage SMB Hiring Outlook Survey found.

Among SMB builders who hired in both 2012 and 2013, 53 percent expect to hire more employees in 2013 than they hired in 2012, and 41 percent expect to hire about the same, according to the survey conducted among 361 executives of SMB construction firms, which was announced by business management software specialist Sage North America.

When respondents who planned to increase the size of their workforce were asked about the factors influencing their hiring decisions, 83 percent cited a stronger demand for their company's products and services, and 36 percent cited a stronger economic outlook.

"The construction industry is showing strong signs of recovery after several very challenging years, and we're pleased to see that translating into increased hiring and a stronger employment outlook in 2013," Joe Langner, executive vice president of midmarket solutions for Sage North America, said in a statement. "Our survey shows that builders are cautious but confident, and we're optimistic that employment in this sector will continue to improve."

Among respondents who plan to decrease their workforce or keep it the same, 57 percent indicated they were influenced by a steady or weakened demand for their products and services, while 53 percent cited economic uncertainty. The survey revealed that a third of employers in the SMB construction sector have hired or plan to hire in 2013; of those, 84 percent seek full-time help. This supports the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that construction has gained an average of 27,000 jobs per month over the prior six months, suggesting an uptick in the once challenged construction industry.

When respondents were asked about the size of their workforce in 2013, 33 percent said they have increased or will increase workforce size, another third indicated they will keep their workforce size the same, 10 percent stated they have decreased or will decrease workforce size, and just under a quarter (24 percent) reported they have not yet determined how their workforce will change.

"Mobile devices can certainly play a significant role in helping construction businesses. For instance, mobile technology can eliminate the need to haul bulky sets of plans and four-inch-thick books of project specifications to the job site," Langner said. "Mobility enables efficiency and increased collaboration between those on the job site and those in the office."

A study earlier this month from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) found nearly half (49 percent) of small-business owners surveyed hired or tried to hire in the last three months, and 38 percent (out of 78 percent of those trying to hire or hiring) reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions, suggesting a dearth of qualified talent exists in the larger industrial sector hungry for applicants.