If you were lucky enough this March to escape frigid spring temperatures and attend the Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2015 Executive Forum in Orlando, you might have sat in on one of our favorite sessions: “20 Big Ideas from Staffing Industry Analysts,” by Jon Osborne, vice president of strategic research for SIA.
The rapid-fire session overviewed the staffing industry from a big-picture perspective with niche market opportunities that staffing firms and recruiters should take note of. Among the incredible insight, Osborne shared areas of hiring that are ripe for picking, and industries that are seeing some challenges. Here are some of the most interesting trends and tips Osborne discussed:
1. Seasonal hiring engagement
Temporary hiring picks up around the holiday season when more workers (especially in retail, customer service and logistics) are needed to help manage the onslaught wave of shoppers. But other seasonal hiring is worth putting on your calendar, as Osborne pointed out that 21 percent of temporary labor is purchased for seasonal reasons. For instance, the spring’s top needs are garden supply stores, sports teams, spectator sports, golf courses, country clubs and landscaping.
To take further advantage of opportunities in hiring for seasonal workers, Osborne recommends asking clients about their seasonal needs, and noting them on your calendar so you can reach out when their hiring is relevant to their own needs.
2. Temporary, SOW and contingent workers
Temporary workers saw an increase in their hireability when the recession left employers with lots of work and few resources to get things done. The budget-stretching move has stuck around, even though the economy has seen dramatic improvement, which means a transitioning workforce adapting more contingent workers is an opportunity for hiring.
As the definition of contingent worker has evolved to include seasonal workers, independent contractors and statement of work consultants, project-based workers are moving up the list of company priorities and are offering relief to in-house workers as their times is freed up. Similarly, company functions that can be outsourced are helping to lighten the load as staffing firms adapt to the temporary and contingent worker demands.
3. Refocused client messaging
Looking at many staffing firm websites, the message of promising to help find workers is something everybody can do—which means it’s time to align your messaging with what the client actually cares about. The quality of talent you’re able to provide is a huge attention-grabber, and backing up your claims with the certifications, degrees and qualifications they hold starts your rebranding off on a great foot.
Also have in-depth conversations with your clients about their individual concerns and needs. You may find that you have the right candidates for them, but didn’t have the right way to explain the fit, or could even discover a new staffing opportunity.
4. Niche skills and talent gaps
Employers are stepping in to help close the skills gap and more priority is being placed on education to prepare graduates for the workforce, but as the economy continues shifting into the future, skills gaps will emerge in niche areas, like welders, machinists and truck drivers.
There are also multiple dimensions to niches: think about not only the position, but also the geography. If you can identify an area of focus that is particularly needed in your local area or a specific type of position that is in need to no one is paying attention to—this will get your firm ahead of the game.
5. Segment-focused strategies
Instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades and help place any worker in any job, you may find more opportunities by focusing your strategies—and become an expert in that segment of hiring. That doesn’t mean that you’re only looking at one group of job seekers, though. Another recommended strategy is diversifying your client base with workers who may have transferrable skills or are willing to move.
People still make the biggest difference to a workplace, and looking to hire the right people for that company is a huge bragging point if you’re good at it. Pointing to success rates for your placement, as well as the strategies that you have for workers who might not be working out, will establish your excellence and likely scoop up new clients as well.
While Osborne gave some great advice to staffing firm executives, he also reminded us all that we should focus internally and take a look at what we are doing that is working, saying “Your success beats my theories any day of the week.” Always good advice to remember: Be aware of the trends, but also stay connected to your own business and experience.