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A Majority of Small Businesses Plan to Hire in 2010

TriNet's quarterly survey shows confidence surge across several sectors.

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (January 19, 2010) – Small businesses are once again proving to be economic bellwethers, fueling a trend that reveals the worst of the economic woes are behind us. In a survey released today by HR outsourcing provider TriNet, two-thirds of small and medium-sized companies say they plan to hire new employees this year, and 53 percent anticipate strong or moderate economic growth—not one respondent expects a strong decline in the economy.

Other indicators that America is heading toward employment stability in this sector include findings that nearly 70 percent of small businesses added staff in 2009, while their larger counterparts laid off hundreds of thousands of employees. Of this, the largest percentage (33 percent) hired more than five new employees last year—once again pointing toward resurgence in employment and growth.

The quarterly survey of more than 225 U.S. small and medium-sized businesses was conducted for TriNet, a leading provider of human resources outsourcing and consulting services with its finger on the pulse of 8,000 small business in the technology, financial and professional services industries. These latest findings are a significant improvement over the small business perspectives gathered this time last year for the 2009 economic outlook, where only 30 percent expected growth.

“The United States economic recovery will come on the backs of small business, not the big corporations,” said Burton M. Goldfield, TriNet’s president and CEO. “The results in this survey show that entrepreneurs are more confident, prepared for a turnaround and ready to make opportunistic hires when the time is right.”

When it comes to hiring, the majority of respondents (65 percent) think it will be easier to recruit because there are more talent options in the softened job market; conversely 21 percent said too many applicants for open positions make recruitment more challenging. And, 14 percent think it will be harder to afford new talent due to rising health care costs and increased regulations.

The majority of respondents also indicate a strong compensation package and their company’s culture/reputation are “very important” to their ability to hire—two factors that year-over-year  have been considered more important to attracting personnel than flexibility and work/life balance, advancement opportunities and employee benefits.

“The hottest issue this year will be compensation practices and the return of the raise,” Goldfield added. “As the labor market warms, firms will realize they need to boost their salary budgets and engage key talent or risk losing them to competitors.”

The survey was fielded to executives of small and medium-sized businesses in the industries of technology, financial and professional services industries, including manufacturing, architecture and engineering. More than 57 percent of respondents employ 25 or fewer employees, and 14 percent employ more than 100 people. The Quarterly HR trends report will be available in its entirety before the end of the month at

About TriNet

TriNet serves as a trusted HR partner to small businesses, to help contain costs, minimize employer-related risks, relieve administrative burden, and keep focus on core business functions. From routine employee benefits service and payroll processing to high-level human capital consulting, TriNet's PEO expertise is integrated with every facet of a client’s organization. Its solutions specialize in serving fast-moving companies in fields such as technology and professional services, who recognize that top-quality employees are the most critical competitive asset. For more information, please visit

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