About three-quarters of people who are currently employed full-time work for large corporations, while just a quarter work for small businesses, according to the survey. A much higher percentage of part-time workers, nearly half, work for small businesses.
With hiring expectations at a relative high point among small-business owners, their pool of job seekers should be strong. Nearly half of people in the survey who were not small-business owners (48 percent) say they don't have a preference between working for a large corporation or a small business, with 27 percent saying they'd prefer to work at a small business and 23 percent preferring a large corporation.
Those who want to work for a small business tend to be older. More than half of people 65 and over (52 percent) would prefer to work for a small business rather than express indifference or work for a large corporation. Twenty-eight percent of young adults, those age 18 to 29, are the most likely to want to work for a large corporation; that's more than twice as many as those 65 or older (13 percent).
But the strongest predictor of enthusiasm for small businesses is a person's current employment status. Those who already work for a small business, whether in a full-time or part-time role, are more likely than anyone else to say they'd prefer to work for a small business.
More than half of full-time small-business workers (57 percent) and part-time small-business workers (51 percent) say they prefer to work for a small business. Compare those results to the numbers among corporate workers: Just 36 percent of full-time and 32 percent of part-time employees say they prefer to work for a large corporation — but they already work at one.
This may be the advantage that small businesses have in hiring: Their employees are more content with their job situation compared with those who work for larger corporations. Regardless of the salary packages that big businesses can offer potential hires, it's hard to compete with that satisfaction.
— By Jon Cohen, chief research officer, SurveyMonkey, and Laura Wronski, research scientist, SurveyMonkey
The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey is conducted quarterly using SurveyMonkey's online platform and based on its survey methodology.