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Problem: Finding Employees With Specialized Skills

Finding qualified employees is a top concern for independent business owners, according to the latest jobs report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“Eighty-seven percent of owners who hired or tried to hire reported difficulty finding qualified workers” in July, the advocacy group says. “The most commonly reported problem is lack of specific skills.”

That’s a problem for small businesses across industries, CNBC reports.

Independent home improvement retailers say keeping or finding new employees with equipment repair skills or expertise in areas such as paint, design and plumbing can be challenging.

When a store loses a worker with a specialized skill, the business not only has a staffing gap it needs to fill, but it may also have to stop offering services, such as small engine repair, temporarily or permanently.

Similarly, bicycle shop owner Tony Song tells CNBC that replacing his mechanics would be very difficult. Knowing that his hiring options would be limited, he focuses on employee retention and offers some benefits, CNBC reports.

“To keep workers happy, Song said they offer a health care stipend, paid time off and flexibility, depending on the season, recognizing that liking your job means more than just making good money,” the CNBC article says.

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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