Eight in ten small businesses are finding it difficult to recruit staff, according to a report published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The FSB's 'Scaling up Skills' report found that over 80% of small firms are flagging a lack of relevant qualifications, skills and experience among candidates as a problem, while 60% say a lack of applicants is also an issue.
More positively, five in six small employers provided training for themselves and/or their staff in the previous 12 months, with seven days of training and development per staff member on average.
Though critical to future sustainable growth, only a quarter of small employers say they have undertaken leadership and management training over the same period.
FSB Policy Chair, Tina McKenzie, said:
'Our members tell us their growth potential is being held back by a lack of appropriately skilled staff, with vital roles going unfilled, ultimately harming the economy.
'This skills and training deficit is a perennial issue, but far from an insoluble one. Our report sets out a roadmap for change on every level, from schools to apprenticeships to workplaces.'