A number of trends are impacting the staffing sector, so much so that industry experts are using data and observations from previous years to try and predict what employment is going to look like next year and in the next 10 years. Some trends are making technology adoptions like recruiting software necessary, while others are changing the face of the staffing sector and how it interacts with clients.
To weigh in on the evolution of the staffing industry, we have Bruce Steinberg, Employment & Economic Consultant. With more than 20 years of corporate communications experience specializing in the staffing industry, Steinberg has worked with Staffing Industry Analysts and the American Staffing Association as a director of research.
Let’s take a look into how he views the current state of the industry and what direction it may take to remain competitive.
The aging population and how it is impacting staffing
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the elderly population is expected to more than double between now and 2050. As a result, the number of people over the age of 65, the typical age of retirement, will reach about 80 million or approximately one out of five adults in the nation.
Steinberg believes that this will have a drastic impact on the nation’s economy, the employment sector and the staffing industry.
“I think that one of the key trends that is impacting employment and jobs in general – and ultimately affecting staffing – is how the bell curve of the demographic profile is shifting to older people,” Steinberg said. “The high point of the bell curve indicating the population’s age is getting older, which is changing the nature of jobs and services needed for the economy. The recession may have slowed the percentage of people [leaving jobs] by delaying many people’s retirement, but that is soon going to change.”
Steinberg added that “the number of new workers coming down the pipeline is not as many [as previous decades], which means there will continue to be a shortage of workers, but at the same time, productivity has increased very fast because of computerization. In addition, business models in manufacturing and service industries have changed, and now people can produce a lot more products and services aided by technology… it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds, if the increase in productivity will manage with less workers.”
The state of the economy is impacting employment trends
Recently released employment numbers have everyone talking because according to one report, 77 percent of the jobs created in 2013 were part-time positions, reported The Boston Globe. For some, this figure was highly worrisome, and for others, it indicated a growing trend toward hiring contingent or part-time workers instead of full-time, salaried professionals.
“[Businesses could be using contingent and part-time workers as] a strategy to cope with the ACA. If that’s true or not, we don’t know. It’s what everyone has been saying, and I am certain that some businesses are using that as a strategy, but others are just finding that part-time workers are more efficient,” Steinberg said. “We are in a recovery, and the work and economy has not come back with any great magnitude – businesses at this stage may only need or can only create part-time employees, because of the relative weakness of the economic growth.”
The importance of staffing professionals using recruiting software to help keep desirable, comprehensive services
The changing face of the industry is resulting in a number of trends that professionals will have to learn to adapt to in order to remain current. The creation and implementation of the Affordable Care Act is just one way that staffing professionals can remain current and a vital part of the employment process for clients. Of course, the right recruiting software is also vital.
“Staffing companies have to be very aware of what the job trends are in the markets they serve and look to diversify in the sector they serve as well the variety of the services they offer to employers and businesses,” Steinberg said.
While some people are against the implementation of the ACA and the increasing presence of federal regulations in business, it could lead to a positive situation developing for staffing professionals.
“There are a lot of folks who disdain from heavy regulation on the employer/employee relationship – it’s an additional burden that they have to learn and it can gum up the works. That’s a very strong mindset within the staffing industry and with staffing industry executives. I have a very contrarian view that the more regulation and the more complicated the relationship is, the more reason there is to use a staffing agency,” Steinberg said.
He went on to say that the ACA and other regulations being implemented in the business world, especially concerning employment, could boost the desirability of hiring a staffing firm for many organizations.
“Small, medium and even large businesses are in business, not in the world of employment. For example, if a business is in the business of making widgets, they are experts in that. They are not necessarily experts at being employers. The ACA and regulations could be good for the staffing industry and increase organizations’ reliance on staffing firms because we are the experts in employment.”
How staffing professionals can benefit from the ACA
The ACA might just be a blessing in disguise for some staffing agencies if they can become experts in the act and market a consultation service as part of their brand.
“[While it may be very hard to become an expert in the ACA], it is very important for those in the staffing industry, to become very well versed in it and know how to implement it. Somewhere along the line the ACA will create a variety of new types of jobs and professions for staffing companies to fill,” Steinberg said. “If a staffing company can develop ACA experts, then they can provide those services to businesses, possibly creating a whole new service line.”
Based on these and other trends in employment and staffing, it is increasingly important that staffing and recruiting agencies update their staffing software to enable them to effectively handle changing demographics, job requisitions, and government regulations and reporting.
Bruce Steinberg offers a range of products, services, and analysis of economic and employment data and can be reached at http://www.brucesteinberg.net