SI Review: July 2013

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Beyond the Daily

Trends That Matter

We include developments from the Staffing Industry Daily News and The Staffing Stream to help you focus on emerging movements that could shape your business for the better.

85% Freelancing Advantage

Companies recognize competitive advantage in online staffing/freelance model.

Eighty-five percent of companies believe hiring freelance talent online gives them a competitive advantage, and 74 percent of companies reported they will hire more freelancers in 2013, according to the Impact Report released today by online staffing provider Elance.

Meanwhile, 69 percent of freelancers say they are happier when freelancing versus working at a traditional onsite job. The average freelancer estimates that they have 28 more personal days than when working in a corporate environment. As a result, 71 percent claim they are more productive.

Gearing up

Research group expects labor market and economy to gain traction.

U.S. economic growth is expected to post a modest reacceleration in the second half of 2013 as the labor market regains traction amid improvement in the conditions of the financial and housing markets, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategy Research Group.

“Our May forecast predicts that the second half of 2013 will be a little stronger than the first half, despite the slowdown during the past couple of months,” says Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “Employment numbers are getting better, albeit it at a relatively slow pace, and the April employment picture should help boost consumer sentiment toward the economy overall.”

Housing is growing at a sustainable pace and should be a tailwind for the economy into 2014, according to the group.

Bankruptcy Ruling

A departure from mainstream law, staffing firm not out on temps’ pay.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted priority payment status for a portion of debt owed by a bankrupt company to its staffing firm — but only for wages from temporary workers, according to the May 2013 issue of the Legs & Regs Advisor, produced by Staffing Industry Analysts in conjunction with employment law firm Littler Mendelson.

The ruling is a departure from the mainstream of bankruptcy law, which has rarely recognized the preferential “wages” character of anymoney owed to staffing firms.

While the ruling does not establish a new bankruptcy law principle, it is good news for staffing firms, because the usual theory is that what customers ultimately owe for staffing labor loses its priority character as wages when it becomes a corporate invoice issued to the customer. If this court’s approach becomes the dominant approach, staffing firms will become better able to help their customers through the bankruptcy process.

Purple Squirrels

New college courses hold promise for those hard-to-find skills.

More and more employers are looking for that perfect “Purple Squirrel” candidate — the one with the exact qualifications, education, salary expectations and soft skills desired. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are a great place to find them.

MOOCs are large online college classes open to anyone interested worldwide. Courses are typically taught by star faculty from top-tier universities and are available for little or no cost.

MOOCs expand the overall skilled talent pool. Participants on MOOC platforms are accessing classes and learning skills previously available only to a few select Ivy Leaguers. Not only are MOOC students voluntarily mastering in-demand academic subjects, they’re also demonstrating key soft skills employers look for today — self-motivation, adaptability, collaboration and drive for learning — making them the ideal source for identifying Purple Squirrels.

—Source: “Looking for Purple Squirrels? Try a MOOC,” The Staffing Stream, by Erica Golden, a career consultant and talent strategist

Is Offshore Support Right for You?

Shipping off some support functions can yield great savings.

More and more staffing firms are taking advantage of offshore support for their businesses. Typically grouped as “administrative/transactional” work, it includes a variety of functions such as order entry, interview coordination, etc. Offshore support for administrative/transactional roles can result in savings, increased quality and reduced management hassle. Here are some quick rules of thumb to tell if your firm could outsource its administrative functions:

  • You are looking to grow margins, but you’ve trimmed everything you can think of.
  • You have trouble getting consistently strong quality levels from your shared services or back-office teams.
  • You have trouble managing and staffing to accommodate the volume swings or surges for certain tasks.
  • You’re having trouble recruiting and retaining staff for administrative work that’s mundane but essential.

—Source: “Is Offshore Support Right for You?” the Staffing Stream, by Brian Cotter, president and co-founder, PSG Global Solutions

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