“If we can get better at data and technology, we can get better at our jobs,” said Eric Gilpin, President of CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group, at the Staffing Industry Analysts 2016 Executive Forum in Phoenix. Gilpin was hosting a session titled, “Prioritizing Your Recruitment Challenges: Knowing What to Fix First,” during which he discussed the biggest challenges the staffing industry is facing right now, and what we should focus on as we look ahead.
Gilpin opened the session with some findings from CareerBuilder’s 2016 Job Forecast, which will inevitably have an impact on the industry. Among the findings:
- 36 percent of employers are increasing full-time, permanent headcount this year, while 10% plan to decrease staff levels.
- Of the 47 percent of employers adding temporary/contract workers in 2016, 58% plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into permanent roles.
- 83 percent of employers plan to increase compensation for existing employees; 66% will offer higher starting salaries to new hires.
Other trends affecting the industry are the rise of minimum wage (11 states have raised the minimum wage this year so far, with more to follow), boomerang employees (a recent study found 76 percent of companies prefer to rehire former employees over new candidates), and the emerging use of the smart phone as a recruitment and workforce management tool.
The Staffing Industry’s Top Challenges
Citing the results of another recent CareerBuilder survey, Gilpin said staffing firms’ top two challenges this year are finding qualified talent to meet their clients’ needs, and finding new ways to source more efficiently and effectively.
The good news is, thanks to increasingly sophisticated technology and the vast amount of workforce data available, we can meet these challenges head on. Yet, 33 percent of staffing employees aren’t comfortable using recruitment technology and software. How do we fix that?
In a panel discussion with three staffing firm CEOs, Gilpin discussed the benefits of using technology and data:
Become Indispensable to Clients: Armed with industry knowledge and insight, you will become a consultant for clients. That’s what happened to Dan Campbell, CEO of Hire Dynamics, who uses data to help clients make informed hiring and salary decisions. Data has helped him build trust with clients and establish his firm as a valuable and informed resource.
Keep Up with the Joneses: “You have to think differently about how candidates and clients leverage technology and social media,” said Leo Sheridan, CEO of Advanced Group, during the session’s panel discussion. As a staffing firm, if you’re not paying attention to how your clients and candidates use technology to communicate and gather information, you’re going to miss out on opportunities and get left behind.
Set Expectations: One of the biggest challenges the industry faces right now is a shortage of talent with the skills clients are looking for; however, clients aren’t always aware of this talent gap. Realizing this, Jeff Harris, CEO of Ettain Group, used supply and demand data to show his clients the trends that are happening right now, set more realistic expectations and adjust their strategies to meet their hiring goals. “We’re using technology to empower clients and help them be data experts,” Harris said.
Empower Your Internal Staff: When it comes to getting your employees comfortable with using technology and analytics, Campbell said the key was over-communication. The more you stress the importance of using technology and make it a part of the everyday process, the more comfortable employees will become using it. He added one more tip, “Communicate when there are success stories.” Celebrate the “wins” with technology and use real-life examples to show employees how technology can make them more efficient and better at their jobs.
Differentiate Your Firm: “As a staffing firm, utilizing data is a way to differentiate yourself, because such a large percentage of internal hiring managers do not do so,” Gilpin says. Yet, a full third of staffing employees are not comfortable using recruitment software or technology. Therefore, it is not only imperative that staffing firm employees have access to the best tools you can provide, but also that they are comfortable using these tools – and using them to their greatest advantage.
“Imagine a day you can create a rec for a job, put it out on the Internet, and it automatically matches the right candidates with the right skills and emails them and connects them to you. That day will happen,” Gilpin said of recruitment technology’s increasing sophistication. While we’re not there yet, we’re close. Those who adapt now, however, will be better positioned to benefit from this technology as it evolves – and set themselves up for success well into the future.
Want to learn more about the 2016 staffing trends and how they affect you? Download CareerBuilder’s Q1 2016 CareerBuilder Staffing & Recruiting Guidebook for exclusive industry research and expert recommendations for overcoming your biggest staffing challenges.