Most entrepreneurs plan to hire

Regardless of today’s shaky economy and high unemployment rates, 54 percent of entrepreneurs around the world plan to hire, according to new research from Ernst & Young.

The research also finds that 90 percent of respondents believe innovation is a true differentiator from competitors. Another 44 percent of respondents say they rely on structured processes to create innovation, and 41 percent of respondents say innovation involves an unstructured, spontaneous process.

“Clearly entrepreneurs are not taking a wait-and-see attitude to growing their businesses but moving right ahead,” says Maria Pinelli, global vice chair of strategic growth markets for Ernst & Young. “It’s fascinating to see this type of success across the board at a time when just about every leading global economic indicator reports modest or no growth.”

While 43 percent of respondents indicate that having a passion for their products or services propelled them into the market, 36 percent of respondents say they were influenced by improving existing products and services. Thirty-three percent of respondents say entering niche markets was the prime reason they established their businesses. Among the various sectors, information technology is most influenced by its products.

“Entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector said they were more focused on improving an existing product or service while pharmaceutical and biotech executives said they’re searching for new niche markets,” Pinelli says.

Finding skilled talent remains a major challenge, the research shows. Of the skills in greatest demand are industry knowledge at 57 percent, sales and marketing at 25 percent, and management and leadership at 22 percent. Respondents seem less interested in potential employees with narrow functional backgrounds, such as engineering, finance and human resources. This is especially true among respondents from countries that tend to hire for specific industry skills, including Ireland at 68 percent, Australia at 61 percent, Canada at 61 percent, the United States at 56 percent and the United Kingdom at 43 percent.

With the youth unemployment problems in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Southern Europe, a huge gap is present between the needs of growing companies and the skills of the talent pool, Pinelli says.

“The business world is crying out for specific talent,” Pinelli says. “Technical expertise is essential, but what really matters is the capacity of the candidate to transform ideas into actions that will keep their industry well ahead of the pace of market change.”

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