Staffing Industry Alive and Kicking

A decade ago, the U.S. staffing industry was projected to boom pretty much without end. Fantastic long-term growth was projected and an ever increasing share of U.S. employment was expected to be managed through staffing agencies.  Things didn’t quite work out that way. 

In 2002, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected growth of 54 percent in temp labor over the next 10 years. In reality, temp labor grew 18 percent over that period.  Industry insiders were disappointed when that brilliant outlook never came to pass.

But here’s the good news. We are starting to hit new ground again.  Staffing Industry Analysts is forecasting $137 billion for the staffing industry, for the first time rising above its previous 2007 peak of $132 billion. Likewise, we are closing in on the previous temp penetration rate high of 2.03 percent and will soon surpass it.  And these figures don’t include the boom in such staffing services as independent contractor compliance/payroll services, HRO or RPO models — stuff that is really taking off. Yes, the industry is alive and kicking.

Everyone is a winner in this scenario. Suppliers should be making money providing talent and other services and buyers are learning to take advantage of outsourcing services and getting good quality workers. And the talent should be getting good jobs and projects. Further, in the bigger scheme of things, staffing speeds up the economic recovery globally. And with the risk of sounding self-serving, we could still end up with the staffing firms being the primary way people look for jobs, temporary or permanent.

Nothing wrong with that.


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