Are Small Business Employees Trained For Their Jobs?

      On Feb. 27th I presented a paper titled “Small Business Training and Development: Analysis of Recipients, Types, Location and Incidence Levels Using SIPP Data” at the 35th Annual Eastern Economic Association Conference at the Sheraton New York in Manhattan.  The paper was based on an analysis of the latest training data released by the Census Bureau.

      An expected finding was that workers in small firms (<100) are much less likely than workers in large firms (100+) to receive training by any definition and measure used in Census’ 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).  However, there were several unexpected findings such as a decline in employer-provided formal training from 1996 to 2004: other research found an increase from 1984 to 1996.

      In addition, this paper discovered that women are more likely than men to receive training during the previous year.  One commentator suggested that many of the findings could be viewed through the lens of “dual labor market” theory.  The presentation also highlighted future slow labor force growth, due to a smaller pool of younger entry-level workers and an aging workforce.  This will challenge small firms who have tended to hire and train younger rather than older workers.

      Key aspects of the presentation can be found in Chapter 5, “Small Business Training and Development,” in the 2008 Small Business Economy located on the SBA’s Office of Advocacy’s website.


— Jules Lichtenstein, Senior Economist

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