In July, a report from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce stated that four out of five SMEs looking for talent fail or struggle to do so. This is a huge problem as it can have a big impact on the businesses at stake – business owners expect it to lead to reduced sales, customers, and growth within a three-month period. This blog discusses the ways SMEs are increasing their visibility in the already tight job market and, more specifically, how your company, too, can attract and retain the best employees.

Staff shortages in SMEs

The majority of the target group consisting of 517 SME entrepreneurs are looking for employees, 60%. Companies are scouring the labour market in a variety of ways.  For example, the report states that a “55%  involve their own network, 33% also approach family, friends or acquaintances for recruitment, 27% set up a recruitment campaign and 19% use employees as ambassadors.” SMEs seem to be ogling the addressed group of people primarily with the structure and atmosphere of the company. Although not insignificant, seeking employees are in fact primarily guided by a familiar motivation: money. 

The value of money

Thus, it would be obvious that SMEs would take this thought into account in their search for personnel. Yet it appears that less than a quarter of the companies surveyed appeal to new talent by offering a higher salary. While that is the most central consideration for job seekers in finding a (new) job.

Even when asking whether entrepreneurs are considering taking higher salaries into consideration in the future, only one in eight says they would consider improving. Of course, it is to be mentioned that even with offering high salaries, searching and finding talent remains a difficult task. Still, just as prices for everyday necessities continue to rise and workers are picking jobs in many sectors, income is a factor in attracting employees that cannot be underestimated.

Advancement opportunities

In addition to good primary benefits, the average job seeker is looking for perspective, and not just in an economic sense. A recent survey from England shows that half of the workers surveyed find the lack of opportunities for career advancement frustrating. Indeed, a significant proportion of these keep an eye out for new, or actually, better opportunities with other employees. This makes offering training and advancement opportunities, both deepening and broadening, a golden rod to cast out in the job market.

Other conditions

Again, primary employment conditions play a key role in appealing to talent, but in and of itself, that does not win employees over. Especially in sectors where salaries are already high, fringe benefits play a major role. Incidentally, this is true for both attracting and retaining talent. Companies are therefore advised to research the needs of job seekers and be creative in meeting them.

For example, people employed by tech company Mollie can claim expenses from their gym membership to painting their nails. Furthermore, they are free to work from home but when in the office their lunch is arranged. Employees increasingly crave the “freedom and joy” of being able to arrange their work week themselves.


Attracting and retaining talent is not easy – especially in a competitive job market where opportunities fly around a job seeker’s ears. Even though there is no, or actually no, way to most effectively attract talent, it is advisable to take the points discussed into account.

Here again the considerations that cannot be missing in determining a strategy to find and retain employees. Differentiate your company through:

  • Competitive salaries
  • Sufficient training and advancement opportunities
  • Freedom to organise the work week
  • Company-related facilities

These points can be supplemented by desires that exist in your specific industry. Manifest here according to the deliberate points that reinforce your mission or corporate culture – from your mission to make the future better, your beautiful company building, to the fun team gatherings.


Eevery’s mission is to help SMEs function as well as possible and prepare them for the future. Finding and retaining suitable employees is an important condition in fulfilling your mission.

Therefore, we are happy to take you by the hand with concrete points of improvement to create the most attractive atmosphere possible for your (future) staff. For example, we will help you formulate a diversity and work-at-home policy.

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