The Evolution of Today’s Staffing Industry

Shaun Enders

The strength of the staffing industry is tied to the ebb and flow of the global economy, and recent years have been going strong. This expansion is positive for the industry, but what is driving the growth? How are staffing agencies adapting? And what’s in store for the future? In this article we look at some of the major developments that affect the US staffing industry today and how future transformation will bring benefits to candidates and companies alike.

Unique and creative models

One of the reasons the industry has experienced such strong growth is because of changes to the traditional staffing model. Each of the service models below fit different industries, company sizes, and staffing needs. In addition to traditional staffing situations, where a business has an opening and then contacts a staffing firm to help fill the position, we’re seeing the use of complete vendor management systems where companies integrate staffing partners with their internal requisition systems. Some companies manage staffing internally, while others utilize staffing agencies for retained searches for executives. Finally, new lines of business are delivering on-demand talent directly to employers through software platforms. As clients are creatively combining staffing models, the industry itself is changing.

The role (and rise) of software

So, where do staffing partners fit in? In any brokerage environment, there’s always a question of whether or not that model will become obsolete. Travel agents and financial advisors also faced these questions. Their relevance was called into question as new technologies emerged that could seemingly replace them., Craigslist and many other job boards were all predicted to foreshadow the “death of the staffing industry.”

However, the industry has only grown stronger. These technologies have not only failed to usurp staffing agencies but have supercharged their ability to find and place top talent. In the current climate, often the biggest, most influential users of these technologies are staffing agencies themselves. Artificial intelligence, CRM and ATS software enter the industry as perceived disruptors, only to become points of leverage for the staffing agencies who use them frequently.

The irreplaceable value of trust

Technology can scan resumes and match up keywords to pair a candidate with an open position, but it can’t read between the lines to determine where a candidate will be happy and successful in the position. Our company slogan is “Your search, our network” and therein lies the value of what a good staffing agency brings to the table. A staffing partner is not just a conduit, it’s a carefully nurtured network of quality candidates and reputable employers. The years (and sometimes decades) staffing agencies invest in developing relationships with both candidates and employers translate into huge value because a staffing agency is carefully collecting and cataloguing relevant information that will result in a good match.

Strong placements convey that the staffing agency truly understands the desires and requirements for all parties. Additionally, agencies have access to insider information on client staffing plans, so for candidates, the job search becomes more than just a “numbers game.” Quality staffing agencies continue to grow by using technology to capture candidates and increase their network, but rely on human insight and judgment to distill the very best opportunities for the clients and candidates.

Where to next?

As 2019 hits its stride, we’re coming full circle from where we’ve been over the last decade. Companies are integrating their own technology into the recruiting process and utilizing staffing firms in a different way—namely, in a smarter, more strategic manner. Companies can now acquire resumes using the many technical tools available, and if they’re not seeing enough appealing candidates or are overwhelmed by volume, they can partner with a staffing agency to tap into a network that the client can’t get access to. Client conversations become much more strategic and long-term relationships become more valuable. In this new era, the staffing agency’s job isn’t to send a multitude of resumes, it’s to send fewer resumes that truly hit the mark.

The career trajectories for candidates are also very different than they have been in the past. Whereas previous job-seekers were looking for longevity and job security, today’s savvy candidate knows that they will likely be moving onto a new position within a matter of years. Therefore, staffing agencies are recognizing the value of developing deep relationships with candidates as well. They know that as a job-seeker moves forward through their career, a single quality placement today can lead to many more future successes.

The future of the staffing industry could be summed up as, “technology with human power.” Companies that exist to simply churn out the highest volume of resumes will be supplanted by companies who can utilize creative combinations of staffing models to meet client objectives, who understand the use of and place for technology, and who prioritize trust between client, staffing agency, and candidate. The agencies who do this will not only keep pace with the staffing industry’s evolution, they’ll be the leaders who propel it forward.

Looking for a more strategic solution to your human capital needs? Our staffing experts can help.