Tips to Compete as the Big Get Bigger

Reported by Staffing Industry Analysts regarding growth of the largest staffing firms in the US:


In 2016Growth Chart

  • There were 144 staffing firms in the US generating $100MM or more. These firms generate $80 billion in revenue, and comprised 58.5% of the market. (July 18, 2017)
  • Of these, 16 companies generated $1 billion in revenue or more, making up 35.4% of the market. (July 18,2017)

In 2015

  • There were 134 staffing firms in the US generating $100MM or more. These firms generate $75.7 billion in revenue, and 56.8% of the market. (June 28, 2016)
  • Of these, 15 generated $1 billion in revenue or more, making up 35.8% of the market. (June 28, 2016)


While this may not be surprising to an owner of a small to mid-sized independent firm, you must be cognizant of the implications:  The biggest are getting bigger.

With the numbers undeniable, the question must be asked: as the largest firms keep getting larger and talking greater market share, how can the smaller independents keep achieving their growth goals? Truth is, while the best strategy may not be to go head-to-head with a large multi-national, there are still plenty of ways a well-managed independent can develop and maintain a highly successful staffing business.


  • Focus on a narrow specialty or on smaller markets where large competitors can’t get the scale they want and need. Stop trying to be all things to all people.
  • Seek out ways to build differentiating expertise and create hard-to-copy service enhancements that add real value in your market.  When you gain a reputation as a quality niche provider, people in that industry will seek you out and give you an opportunity to compete.
  • Market your firm as a specialty expert or a personalized boutique experience as opposed to the big-box retail experience clients get with larger agencies.


Competitive Advantages

  • Be nimble and to respond quickly. As a smaller staffing firm, you can quickly adapt your recruiting methodologies, your selling tools and your business model to changes in the marketplace.
  • Customizable services to meet the needs of local and regional clients.  You can bring senior management’s attention to a service deficiency or an unexpected opportunity far more quickly.
  • Access to principals. Clients appreciate being able to speak to company owners directly rather than feeling like just another cog in the wheel.
  • Quick decision-making. This is refreshing for customers fed up with the bureaucracy and red tape they experience with the large nationals.
  • Better support for the local economy and community. Staffing company owners should capitalize by maintaining high visibility with client company decision makers, and by being a visible, positive impact in the community.


The above ideas should spark some valuable conversation for you and your team.  Competing with the large multinationals forces you to stay sharp, keep focused, and have a well thought-out strategic plan. Veteran staffing professionals at People 2.0 help independent staffing companies identify their strengths and opportunities, and develop strategies that capitalize on them.   Contact People 2.0 today to learn more.