Looking ahead, most small businesses plan to hire new employees in 2019, and their focus will primarily be on sales and marketing, and customer service positions. A survey by business-to-business research, ratings and reviews firm Clutch found that 39 percent of small businesses hiring in 2019 want to fill sales and marketing roles, followed by customer service roles (36 percent) and IT roles (32 percent).

Clutch surveyed 529 small businesses to learn more about their 2019 hiring plans.

Brian Weed, CEO of Avenica, a recruiting firm for recent college graduates, expects these positions may be popular because they directly support customer growth. He says, “Over the last few years, it’s been a pretty strong growth market, and those are the types of positions that support growth—either salespeople who are going to create the initial demand or customer service [people] who are going to work with the new demand that comes in.”

Clutch found that 51 percent of small businesses say they are likely to hire employees in 2019, although experts the company spoke with say this may underestimate the actual job growth small businesses will see this year. Rona Borre, CEO at Instant Alliance, an IT and financial staffing firm, says, “Fifty-one percent feels a little low to me. I’ve seen a huge uptick in the fourth quarter of 2018 and going into 2019.”

On the flip side of the coin, 23 percent of small businesses surveyed plan to fire or lay off employees in 2019.

Clutch’s full report is available here.