People aged between 35 and 54 are at the top of the hire list for small businesses in the UK, research by Aldermore has revealed.

In a survey of 1,002 SME business leaders, 50% said they would choose to hire from this age group out of all potential recruits - compared to 30% who would prefer to hire 18 to 34-year-olds.

Nearly half of small business owners (47%) also said they believe 35 to 54-year-olds have the greatest industry knowledge of any age group.

When describing current employees, similar numbers of employers said this age group are the most productive (53%), most focused (50%), and have the best work ethic (48%).

However, 21% said it is difficult to recruit employees in this age range, with this figure increasing to 32% among medium-sized businesses.

Carl D'Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore, said businesses should also recognise the "fresh approach" that can come with hiring younger staff.

He said:

"Attracting and hiring the best industry talent can be a tough task, yet the long-term benefits that even a single new staff member can bring to a business can be very significant.

"Having a diverse workforce with different perspectives drives innovation and problem-solving, which is why hiring employees with different skills and levels of experience is so important."

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