Staffing firm internal employment growth has been decelerating for some time, and with the recent mention here and there of industry cuts, it looks like such internal employment may actually be in decline for the first time since 2003. Not coincidentally, we have received a few inquiries along the lines of "do you know anyone who is hiring?"
We don't, but we know who knows. The industry has its own niche of recruiters, and you can find lists of them 1) in our Supplier Directory and 2) in our Insight on recruiters for the staffing industry. If you've been cut, I would certainly start with these specialists.
Another thought is that this is a good time to be building your personal network in the industry. A couple of ways of doing that include joining newsgroups in Linked-In, Google, etc. related to staffing, and also by attending the upcoming Staffing Industry Executive Forum (March 17-19). By far, the main way staffing firms hire is via personal recommendations.
Job boards sometimes carry staffing jobs as well, and you can search by staffing company names to find your preferred employers.
And there is one more opportunity that comes to mind crossing over to the other team. Staffing buyers are sometimes hired out of the staffing industry, for the very good reason that industry workers know the ins and outs of the contingent hiring process as well as anyone. Contingent workforce management seems to be a rising thing according to our annual buyer survey, this line of work is rapidly transforming from a part-time situation into a full-time career path. Sooner or later most large companies of all kinds will need specialized expertise in contingent staffing, and there are a lot of large companies out there.
Lastly, don't give up hope. This industry has high turnover, particularly at smaller staffing firms. So even when overall growth is nil, there is nonetheless a flow of people coming and going hiring will still be going on albeit at a slower pace. And when the economy rebounds the pace of hiring will eventually pick back up again. This is a cyclical industry, yes, and right now we are on the part of the cycle where the roller-coaster is in free fall and we're all screaming, but before long it will come to the bottom and we'll begin that slow climb back up.