April 30, 2020

How Many Self-Employed Workers Will Seek Traditional Jobs?

Paula Santonocito
April 30, 2020

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The man being interviewed was standing in the middle of a deserted street in New York City. He owns a barbershop, he said, explaining that without financial support he won’t be able to pay his bills beyond May. He applied for a government-funded loan, but the program ran out of money. He said he hopes additional funding will become available.

Government programs, designed to support small businesses during the current health and economic crisis, have indeed run out of money.

On April 16, the $349 billion program known as the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) was out of funds. Meanwhile, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, intended to provide relief to small businesses as well as sole proprietors and independent contractors, stopped taking applications as of April 16. A notification at the SBA website, under the heading Notice: Lapse in Appropriations, reads: “SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding.”

Although Congress is likely to approve an additional $310 billion in PPP funding, it’s worth noting that the original $349 billion ran out in 13 days.

Unless help – widespread help – becomes available, the New York City barbershop owner and millions like him will face difficult and potentially life-altering choices.

Large impact

Small businesses account for 44% of economic activity and create two-thirds of net new jobs, according to the U.S. SBA Office of Advocacy.

Plus, there are other self-employed individuals who don’t get included in the “small business” count. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that in March 2019 there were 8.259 million of these people; BLS classifies them as nonagricultural self-employed unincorporated workers.

Potential candidates

How many small business owners and other self-employed individuals will seek traditional work arrangements in the coming weeks and months?

There is no way to know right now, but it’s plausible that at least some of these people are rethinking the entrepreneurial route they’ve taken. For them, COVID-19 may have been the breaking point for what was already a challenging situation. The high cost of health insurance, lack of other benefits, long hours, and other factors will probably figure into their decision.

What these candidates offer

Who are these members of the workforce?

Self-employed individuals’ skills are as varied as the world of work itself. However, successful business owners – whether they employ others or work independently – do share a number of common traits.

Among these traits are:

  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • High energy
  • Can-do attitude
  • Attention to detail
  • Customer-centric focus
  • Ability to multitask
  • Willingness to be held accountable

While this list is by no means inclusive, it provides some insight into what these individuals have to offer.

If the traits are appealing, you’ll want to keep an eye out for small business owners and other self-employed individuals who decide to enter the job market. Additionally, you may want to consider targeting these potential candidates with job postings tailored to their experience, strengths, and concerns.

As the employment landscape changes, new recruitment opportunities will emerge. How will you take advantage of them?

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