A Bright Future for Those Who Can Innovate

Key Takeaways from SIA Executive Forum 2018

Executive Forum 2018 Conference Logo

At SIA’s Executive Forum in Miami, FL, SIA president Barry Asin shared a candid view of the staffing industry past, present and future.

An Upward Trend

The US Staffing Market has nearly doubled in size in the past 20 years, surpassing $140 billion in 2017. The great recession caused an approximately 30% drop in the industry, but the market has more than recovered now. A full two percent of the American workforce is now working through staffing firms, providing end-clients access to talent, reduced costs and streamlined operations.

There is a tide of growing social acceptance of staffing firms. Looking 10 years into the future, corporations report that they expect to be relying even more heavily on staffing firms’ services.

There are lots of reasons our clients desperately need you to help them find and place talent right now. There are major skill shortages in many industries. Unemployment is still low, making it difficult for clients to find talent on their own. There are more positions open than people being hired right now, and most industry segments are looking ripe for growth, meaning that clients will need to find even more people and need even more help.

Our industry is an increasingly global one. Global clients want global solutions, and they are looking to the human capital companies they partner with to provide those solutions. In total, the global gig economy is estimated to be a $3.5 trillion industry. This estimate is on par with other major industries, including oil & gas, technology, and communications.

What does it take to be successful today?

To succeed and grow today and into the future, staffing companies need a favorable economic environment, paired with a forward-thinking approach. The good news is that the economic outlook, which is not in our control, looks good. The better news is that the disciplines needed to move a staffing company forward today are well within every company’s control. Some of those disciplines are:

Leadership First

All of the firms that are the most successful today invest heavily in leadership development. They breed strong leaders that make organizational culture their number one priority.

Anticipate client needs

Many client companies report that “total talent acquisition” is one of their top strategic focuses for 2018. Human capital companies who are able to help clients take a holistic approach to their hiring process will be more valued than those who are just looking to take and fill orders.

Disrupt or be disrupted

None of the biggest companies over the past several years were founded by current market leaders. For example, Blockbuster did not build Netflix and a hotel chain didn’t create AirBNB. There are huge corporations outside of our industry today that are looking to move into our space; Google, Microsoft and even IKEA have all made recent moves to enter the human capital market. We’re poised to be disrupted by an outside force if staffing companies don’t continue to innovate, evolve and find new ways to serve their clients.

Fiercely embrace technology

Staffing company owners don’t — and shouldn’t — need to become tech experts to succeed today. They just need to 1) not be afraid of tech advances in our space, 2) know how to evaluate and implement new technologies, and 3) leverage resources that will help utilize tech to grow the business. Many human capital professionals are fearful of artificial intelligence sweeping across our industry. If you view AI in an opportunity-seeking approach, you’ll see that much of the new technology can take non-revenue generating activities off the recruiter’s desk, allowing them to concentrate more on what they do best: finding and placing talent.

The view is great today, but what got us here is not going to get us to success in the future.” –Barry Asin