Tech and energy startups hiring, but talent recruitment issues arise

The U.S. economy seems to be back on track, an encouraging sign for entrepreneurs. An improved business climate for small business has reinvigorated U.S. entrepreneurship and more individuals are realizing their life's dream to start a small business.

Startups are constantly emerging across the nation in greater frequency, and they are hiring to boot. Problem is, a recent survey found firms in technology and cleantech are running into difficulties when conducting talent searches - a problem technical and renewable energy recruiters can remedy.

Majority are hiring, having trouble in talent searches
In a survey of 750 U.S. startup executives, Silicon Valley Bank found 87 percent of new businesses in technology, software, life science and cleantech are hiring.

However, that same percentage said it is somewhat or extremely challenging to find employees with the right skills. The vast majority of those skills are related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with 82 percent of respondents saying such skills are critical to their business. Sixty-six said the biggest challenge in talent recruitment and retaining was identifying people with the skills the startup looks for.

"Every time I meet with a group of tech company CEOs they say the same thing: hiring world-class talent is one of their biggest challenges," said Greg Becker, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank. "They struggle to find, attract and retain the engineering, scientific and technical talent they need to grow their businesses."

STEM skills in high demand, though businesses are wary
The pool for STEM talent is extremely important to the startups, the survey found. In all five responding sectors – cleantech, hardware, healthcare, enterprise software, and consumer internet – had around 40 percent of respondents said STEM skills are the most critical element to employee talent.

However, many are concerned with the state of qualified STEM talent in the United States: 18 percent of startups said the best advice they could give to President Barack Obama is to ensure the country is building a strong STEM skill culture. More than half stated immigration reform is a way to accomplish this.

"We need to create a tech-savvy, highly skilled American workforce – the more people with skills that are in demand, the better for all of us," Beckker said.

The issue of boosting STEM talent through legislative action is already part of a larger immigration reform plan. Yet startups can ill afford to wait on Congress to act, as the future of their business depends on the talent they can attract in the here and now. To help, entrepreneurs unfamiliar with talent searchers can contact technical recruiters or renewable energy recruiters to start finding the most qualified and capable workers.