The way we work is changing, and few organizations are feeling it more than those in the staffing, recruiting and workforce industry.

There’s a great book by Thomas L. Friedman, an award winning columnist with the New York times, called Thank you for being late: an optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations. The book explores the effects of technology, globalization and climate change - and how they're transforming the entire world. It's a fantastic book - and one that we think is particularly relevant to anyone in the staffing industry.

You see, we're in the midst of what many say is the most profound period of change in history. And the world of work is at the center of this change with artificial intelligence, machine learning, remote working and automation keeping us all on our toes.

We don't think there's too much to worry about when it comes to robots replacing humans though. We agree with research from 2017 McKinsey Global Institute research which found that relatively few jobs could be fully automated (fewer than 5%). Instead, we're sure that technology will soon be used in all fields to make people more productive. Almost all jobs will become more technical, which means that almost all employees need to know how to use technology, which means that we're facing a skills gap.

According to the 2017 Staffing Industry Playbook, published by the American Staffing Association (ASA), emerging technologies will affect all disciplines, economies, and industries, changing the skill sets that businesses will need to remain productive and competitive. The playbook underscores the magnitude of the skills gap challenges already facing U.S. employers. 

Companies in the US are employing more temporary staff

The ASA playbook contains some very interesting charts, including this one, which shows the steady growth of staffing and recruiting sales in the US.

Staffing industry growth.jpgSource: 

The staffing industry has been growing nearly two times faster than the economy, on average, since the end of the Great Recession, according to ASA research and analysis of BEA data.

Staffing employment is growing faster than the economy.jpgSource: 

And all indications point to continued growth for the industry.

They're looking to staffing agencies to help bridge the skills gap

One of the drivers of the increase in contract and temporary workers is the fact that companies often need to bring in highly skilled people because they lack the necessary skills in house. This makes technology workers and other specialists very intriguing for staffing companies. 

Smart staffing companies are already planning ahead, analyzing economic trends, learning about the future of work, and building talent pipelines to take advantage of the looking talent gap.

Employees are looking for greater flexibility

It's not just companies that are changing the way they work. People are demanding greater flexibility and autonomy. Greater connectivity means they can work anywhere, anytime - and many of the best employees have come to realize that their skills are valuable enough to demand some flexibility. According to the ASA playbook, 25% of contract employees cite flexible work hours as a reason for choosing temporary work.

Staffing and recruiting agencies are perfectly positioned to connect these two markets and offer companies the skilled, flexible workforce they need. 

eBook: RPO market growth - seizing the opportunity

The growing popularity of recruitment process outsourcing services is great news for the industry. In this eBook, we discuss how staffing solutions providers can take advantage of this opportunity in the most efficient manner.

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RPO market growth