Hand writing the text: Hire - Train - Motivate - Retain

Employers Struggling to Retain Talent – But Many Underestimate Value of Training

A recent study from business loan provider Esme, has revealed that one in five (22%) SME owners are struggling with hiring and retaining the right staff. One in ten admitted that they don’t know the best approach to retain top employees.

1,250 business owners from small to medium enterprises were surveyed. 35% of respondents said they believe the UK’s current economic climate will have a negative effect on businesses looking to move forward. This only highlights how important it is that businesses build and retain a strong team of people.

What attracts and retains talent?

Esme asked employers what they thought was the most important thing for them to offer to attract and retain the best staff.

  • 36% said a competitive salary was the most important thing in hiring and retaining staff
  • 20% said rewards and bonuses were the second most important thing
  • 16% said that providing opportunities for career progression and promotions was key
  • 7% said that training opportunities were important
  • 4% thought that company benefits helped retain staff

This shows that employers are more likely to rely on financial incentives to retain staff. However, as many are struggling to do, this could highlight that that approach isn’t working as well as they would hope.

How can SMEs retain staff in the future?

Earlier this year, there was a study by CV-Library that revealed nine in ten professionals said they would be less likely to leave a job if their current role offered more training and development. 93% said they felt more valued at work when the company offered this.

So while competitive pay may be an important factor, Esme’s research shows that many business owners are underestimating the benefit of providing training and its role in staff retention.

If employees feel like they’ve run out of space to grow and develop in a company, they may be inclined to look elsewhere. With that in mind, it’s important that staff feel like they’re improving and working towards something more than just financial prizes.


What incentives do you have that keep a strong team together? What do you think the most important thing that employees want is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Stephanie Whalley
Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.