The staffing industry tends to be hyper-cyclical in nature. Its business growth and declines are exaggerated during cycles of economic expansion and contraction. Employment within staffing industry is widely regarded as a leading employment indicator and a corresponding economic indicator on a national basis. The staffing industry lost more than a third of its work force during the recession and only about half of those losses were recovered in the subsequent two years of economic recovery. It still has a long way to go before returning to its pre-recession high.
In the few years after the recession, the employment landscape has changed significantly, and staffing firms will have to adjust their business models to compensate. In the coming decade, the employment trends indicate that we are heading towards decrease in permanent employment and an increase in temporary or contract jobs. This is a long-term workforce trend in which employers are making temp workers a more permanent solution in answer to the nature of work today. This trend will be more pronounced in technology staffing. Individuals will become more selective in choosing who they want to work for and intermediaries like staffing firms will have to evaluate technical skills, soft skills, and personalities in matching supply and demand. There will be a greater shift towards specialist staffing services that cater to specific market verticals.
As employers become less tied to local labor, they will be more receptive to hiring workers in other locations. This broadening of work location will also open up new opportunities for staffing firms to provide workers outside their immediate areas. The location of employment will become irrelevant and the word ‘relocation’ will likely become obsolete in the future. Though some employers are slow to embrace this trend, which is understandable, it cannot be avoided as the nature of technology and work today make it possible to communicate and complete projects from our own homes as well as in an office. In fact, in many cases we work more efficiently and are more productive when we work from our home. Working remotely also allows the right worker to be placed with the right company, without relocation costs, or office overheads and inconveniences. As technology continues to advance, we can only imagine this trend growing in the coming years.
Social networking will become the great enabler, creating a “community” of specialists, contributors, advisers and contractors. The recruitment industry will play an even greater role in matching supply and demand. There are so many diverse skills and expectations today, and human resources will become highly individualized in the future.