According to the 2019 US Startup Outlook Report, landing qualified workers with the right skills for growing a startup business is a challenge almost all surveyed companies face.
The tenth annual report published by the Silicon Valley Bank shows that 82% of U.S. startup companies plan on hiring this year, yet a vast majority sees this as a difficult task. As many as 29% of respondents said that hiring workers who possess the right skills that would boost the entire business is extremely challenging, and another 62% defined this goal as somewhat challenging.
In fact, when it comes to important public policy issues affecting startup companies, most startup executives (63%) named access to talent their number one concern.
They feel that current rhetoric is driving foreign talent overseas, while the U.S. is not doing enough to create an infrastructure which would ensure U.S. residents get the necessary training for jobs in the tech industry. In order to widen the domestic talent pool, startup leaders propose more significant investments in STEM education and efforts in making it more accessible.
The positions most companies are looking to fill are technical ones, followed by sales and product development/R&D.
Other troubling public policies
An issue closely linked with talent acquisition that is weighing down on startups is healthcare. The Silicon Valley Bank report reveals that 44% of respondents consider public policies governing healthcare costs a major issue. Providing competitive healthcare coverage for top talent can prove to be too pricey for young companies who lose the best employees to tech giants who can afford quality healthcare for their workers.
Another big concern of U.S. startups is data protection. According to the report, 40% of surveyed companies said public policies regarding cybersecurity affect their businesses, and 33% said the same of policies related to customer privacy.
Trade tensions with China
Rounding up the top five public policies influencing startups is international trade. Over a fifth of respondents identified it as a major factor affecting the success of their companies. Trade tensions with China have caused the prices of both imports and exports to rise, making it more difficult to place U.S. tech products in China and get the once-affordable parts for those products from Chinese companies.
Positive outlook after all
Despite all these issues, U.S. entrepreneurs remain confident that business conditions will improve in the next 12 months. For the last four years, around 60% of startups shared this opinion, whereas around a third of them believed conditions would remain the same, and somewhere between 5 and 9% were pessimistic, expecting the situation to worsen.
To get more information on how U.S. startups raise capital, their outlook on the merger and acquisition market, and their plans for the future consult the full report here.