Are Small Business Employees Trained For Their Jobs?

      On Feb. 27th I presented a paper titled “Small Business Training and Development: Analysis of Recipients, Types, Location and Incidence Levels Using SIPP Data” at the 35th Annual Eastern Economic Association Conference at the Sheraton New York in Manhattan.  The paper was based on an analysis of the latest training data released by the Census Bureau.

      An expected finding was that workers in small firms (<100) are much less likely than workers in large firms (100+) to receive training by any definition and measure used in Census’ 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).  However, there were several unexpected findings such as a decline in employer-provided formal training from 1996 to 2004: other research found an increase from 1984 to 1996.

      In addition, this paper discovered that women are more likely than men to receive training during the previous year.  One commentator suggested that many of the findings could be viewed through the lens of “dual labor market” theory.  The presentation also highlighted future slow labor force growth, due to a smaller pool of younger entry-level workers and an aging workforce.  This will challenge small firms who have tended to hire and train younger rather than older workers.

      Key aspects of the presentation can be found in Chapter 5, “Small Business Training and Development,” in the 2008 Small Business Economy located on the SBA’s Office of Advocacy’s website.


— Jules Lichtenstein, Senior Economist

8 Responses to Are Small Business Employees Trained For Their Jobs?

  1. Barkri says:

    Businesses need to train and develop their employees regularly as it will help improve employee work performance, provide them with skills necessary to deal with changing technologies, and equip them adequately to perform their duties and helping the company achieve its goals. This has become a problem though for many small businesses as they have to work on a small budget, cannot afford to have the employees away from work for several days to gather as work could come to a stand still. This is when online training programs come in handy.

  2. Johnarc says:

    This is true there are untrained employees in the small firm & also in some departments in long firm.The main reason is, the small firm owner are willing to pay less & only uneducated & untrained will accept there demand.So there is rise of untrained people in growing economy.

  3. Employee training falls in two categories. Training to teach new manual or mental skills is usually successful. Training to teach professional, supervisory or sales employees more productive ways to perform their jobs is only successful in about 10 percent to 40 percent of cases.

    Such training requires changes in behavior, attitudes and habits and causes a high level of anxiety. Workplace schedules make it difficult for the employees to spend the time and attention required to apply what they’ve learned. This category of training requires a follow-on process over weeks and months to accomplish the desired results. A step-wise process is needed. This process is as follows.

  4. Michael says:

    Huge point in the above comment with online training programs. The overall cost is not that expensive and can provide the need on the job training. I think most small business is affaid of this method due to lack of knowledge in technology.

  5. London Jobs says:

    Small companies don’t really place too much importance on training their employees. They think it’s too time consuming and costly, but little do they know that training their employees will bring out more productivness and this results in better working. Overall training is a must, but with the current climate and credit crunch, businesses are seeking people who “have it all”.

  6. More often small business employees are not trained. Some just learned it by themselves. Probably small business firms don’t have enough budget to train their people.

  7. Cheney Lyon says:

    The better small business employees are trained the easier that company will find it to be profitable.

  8. repossessed cars says:

    Often the training is not particularly apt. In a relatively large company, people often see training as a day off from “real” work, and often take nothing away from the exercise. People are also increasingly turned of by the “buzz” words. Its not surprising that some folks are now sick of being told to be “team players” and being quizzed on their “time management” or “stress management”. Some real workshops on practicalities of the business at hand might well be a more worthy and, the bottom line, profitable route for the business to follow.

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