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OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook 2019

image of OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook 2019

The new OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook presents the latest trends in performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and provides a comprehensive overview of business conditions and policy frameworks for SMEs and entrepreneurs.

This year’s edition provides comparative evidence on business dynamism, productivity growth, wage gaps and export trends by firm size across OECD countries and emerging economies. It explores the implications of digitalisation and globalisation for market conditions and SME access to strategic resources such as finance, skills, technology, data and other innovation assets. The report gives comparative analysis of regulatory frameworks and policies to enhance contributions by SMEs and entrepreneurs, and delivers a forward-looking perspective on the opportunities and challenges SMEs and entrepreneurs face in doing business and scaling up their activities. It also contains country profiles outlining the latest developments in national SME performance and business conditions, with expanded country profiles available on line.

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Access to skills

Skilled workers are a key asset for competition in a knowledge-based economy. However, SMEs have greater difficulty in hiring and retaining skilled workers than larger firms because they lack the capacity and networks needed to identify talent and offer less attractive working conditions. Rapid digital transformation, growing globalisation and emerging skills shortages worldwide are likely to put further pressure on labour markets and increase the competition for skills, placing SMEs at an even greater disadvantage. This chapter presents recent labour market trends and discusses the implications for SMEs with respect to their access to skilled workers. It reveals that, although SMEs are reducing the training gap with large firms, relatively few SMEs support the acquisition of digital skills. Moreover, there appear to be persistent gender gaps among entrepreneurs and small business owners in entrepreneurship attitudes and access to training. The chapter also discusses recent national policy actions that improve the capacity of SMEs to upskill their workers, e.g. training and education programmes, technology extension programmes, regulatory measures that encourage upskilling, tailored support for women entrepreneurs and business owners.

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