Did you know that nearly half of SMEs struggle to find high-quality talent for their jobs, meaning many end up settling for second best? 50% of SME respondents in a recent survey we carried out said that they often have to employ someone who was good, but not great – and this is holding businesses back. Having the right talent in place to drive your business is the only way to make it grow. When you do find that ideal candidate, it’s especially critical for SMEs to get the final stages of the recruitment process right.

Here are the two things you need to get right when hiring to achieve business targets:   

1. The right salary

The first factor that makes hiring difficult for SMEs is that they can’t always compete with the big money that large organisations can offer. It’s always a balancing act between market expectations and what the business can afford, so hiring managers within small organisations need to do their research to get an idea of the market rate based on the industry, a candidate’s level of experience, geographic location and the management responsibility that comes with a job. The Michael Page Salary & Employment Outlook is a useful tool for gauging salary benchmarks in your industry. They should also consider the potential value that a highly qualified individual can bring into the business, and whether they’re worth paying a higher than expected salary to.

2. The right offer

An ‘offer’ doesn’t just have to stop at the pay packet. One way SMEs can really compete with larger organisations is that they can offer the chance for individuals to make their mark and create real change within the business. SMEs may also be able to offer more flexible working arrangements that big organisations can’t or won’t. It might sway a great candidate towards accepting a smaller remuneration offer if they can get the work-life balance or company culture they want, for example. This could be in the form of flexible hours or the opportunity to work from home occasionally. Find out what’s on the work wish list of your target candidate and see if you can offer incentives beyond the purely financial aspects of the package.

If you’re hiring within an SME and are unsure how to negotiate salary with your next hire and make a compelling offer, save your seat for our free SME expert webinar on 21st of June.


SMEs need to find the best talent and attract them with remuneration that is as competitive as possible – and a package that’s personal to them.

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