The Changing Ecosystem of the Staffing Industry

When Charles Darwin posited his Theory of Evolution over 175 years ago, he was not thinking of its application to the staffing industry but of the concept that organisms change over time from simple to more complex. It is a concept that can be applied to the world of work, considering how drastically it, too, has changed over the past 175 years. Then, most labor was focused on agriculture and small trades. Fast forward to 2014, and we see that just the opposite is true.

While temporary employees work in all occupations and skill levels, information technology and industrial workers represent the majority of the temp market today (53%) with projections of 60% by 2018. (See Opportunities in an Evolving Ecosystem: 18 Predictions for 2018.)

And, a growing number throughout the world are making flexible work a career choice.

The one thing we can say about evolution is that every entity, whether a living organism or a business ecosystem, undergoes constant change.

In the staffing industry, we can look at the moving target known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What exactly does this mean for our industry?

While we don’t have definitive answers to those questions yet, what we can take away from Darwin is this: it’s not the strongest who survive a changing ecosystem; it’s those that are most adaptable to change that survive.

How do you comply with a moving target?

ready for change

No one really knows exactly what the Affordable Care Act will bring because deadlines and compliance dates keep changing. Anxiety and uncertainty abound, despite the one-year employer-mandate respite.

This is the main reason Bond developed the 2013 Affordable Care Act Survey Results Report — to put a finger on the collective pulse of the staffing industry.

Our aim is to help you gain clarity regarding the anticipated effects of the ACA. By providing a platform to compare viewpoints with industry peers, ranging from the “ACA presents a great opportunity for staffing companies to evolve” to “this will absolutely kill our business,” we can all benefit from these varying points of view.

Richard Purtell, president and CEO of American Resource Staffing, represents just one of the professionals we surveyed. He’s familiar with healthcare reform as his office has locations in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, two states where similar healthcare reform laws are already in effect.

His belief is that thinking or hoping the law will go away can only make things worse. “The un-savvy ones are going to think that school is out for a year. People think a miracle is going to happen. It’s not going to go away. It’s a law. It’s too far down the road,” he said.

Regardless of how popular or unpopular your personal views are, the ACA is happening and you need to take appropriate action.

I hope you gain insight and direction from this Bond 2013 Affordable Care Act Survey Results Report . Below are perspectives we uncovered of how professionals are handling the questions they face in the staffing and recruiting industry.

Here’s a summary of what they had to say.

1)      A lot of change is coming – at least that’s the popular opinion. More than three out of four respondents anticipate change. This viewpoint vastly outweighs the less than 10% of respondents who expect only slight changes or no change at all.

2)      Costs will increase. The majority of the staffing industry agrees that they “fear” the ACA will increase costs.

3)      Uncertainty prevails but many are getting on board. Indecision was the consensus of the research and garnered the most response. Staffing companies are still determining whether to offer benefits in response to the ACA.

4)      Cautiously optimistic regarding increased demand for temporary workers. The majority of respondents anticipate at least some increased demand, especially with growth in healthcare staffing projected to reach $13.4 billion.

5)      There’s no question that processes and procedures will change. The vast majority of staffing professionals surveyed expect the ACA to alter their current work flow. Those who anticipate “a little” change were the minority in this group.

6)      Doubt about their recruiting software readiness is evident. A majority responding felt their existing technology was not ready for the Affordable Care Act. According to Barry Asin, President, Staffing Industry Analyst, speaking at the SIA Executive Forum last year, “Technology choices and adoption will become critical to success for staffing firms. Catching the innovation wave of talent acquisition technology and using data and analytics will continue to impact recruiters and how they do their job,” he said.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution changed the scientific landscape not unlike the ACA is doing for the staffing environment. And, just like our ancestors, we are moving into a more and more complex work environment. Those staffing agencies that are able to preserve the best of the past combined with the next generation in staffing technology will represent the new model for the industry, and will, ultimately, thrive in this evolving business topography.

To learn what you can do to adapt to the ACA, we invite you to download our 2013 ACA Survey Results Report.

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