Looking at trends and results from your staffing providers can provide you with information to better navigate the often-complex relationships with suppliers of talent. Published every two months, SIA’s “US Staffing Industry Pulse Survey Report” provides the contingent workforce buyer with insight into the suppliers’ environment, how it affects their programs and what they should prepare for.

“This report helps to inform contingent workforce buyers,” says Matt Norton, SIA’s workforce solutions research director. “Being an educated buyer is an absolute benefit to your organization and your contingent workforce program and can help you educate internal stakeholders on market trends or challenges. The report highlights in particular the recruiting difficulty for industrial staffing firms, which will not surprise end clients in this sector.”

The survey featured in the “November 2022 Selected Highlights” report found a net increase in new orders of 19%, down from 36% in the previous survey. In addition, a net 39% of staffing firms surveyed for November’s report still expect an increasing trend in the next six months, down from 49% in the prior Pulse survey.

The research also found that the talent shortage may have eased somewhat as average recruiting difficulty decreased to 3.29 from 3.49 in the September report (on a scale of one to five) and average sales difficulty increased to 2.93 from 2.82. The two values have continued to converge since mid-2021, suggesting loosening in the labor market. Nonetheless, recruiting difficulty was particularly high for industrial staffing firms at 4.17.

The survey also provides some insight into bill rates. A net 35% of staffing firms reported an increasing trend in bill rates over the last three months; however, only a net 27% expect an increasing trend in the next six months.

Remote Work

The November survey also queried staffing providers about remote and hybrid work policies. A combined 37% of temporary workers were working remotely (26%) or hybrid (11%), while a combined 74% of internal staff were working remotely (43%) or hybrid (31%) at the time of the survey.

Of the three company size groupings, temporary workers at large staffing companies reported working remote or hybrid the least at 22%, while those at small staffing companies worked remote or hybrid the most at 46%. And as expected, notable differences were seen by primary skill segment; the IT segment had the highest percentage of workers working fully remotely or on a hybrid basis — a combined 76% — while 97% of temporary workers in the industrial staffing segment were working fully on site.

Provider Landscape

Temporary staffing revenues reported in the November Pulse survey reflect modest growth in most staffing segments but with a general deceleration in staffing revenue growth compared to the September survey. Respondents reported a median 12% year-over-year increase in their US temporary staffing revenue in October, down from 21% for each of the past three surveys; the aggregate increase in their US temporary staffing revenue was 8% in the November survey, down from 23% in October.

The four healthcare sectors posted the highest revenue growth figures, led by travel nurse staffing, where growth cooled considerably but still increased 27% year over year. Revenue increased 27% in the locum tenens staffing segment, 21% in allied healthcare and 13% in per diem nursing.

Life sciences and IT were the next strongest staffing segments at 11% and 10% respectively. No segment recorded a negative year-over-year change in revenue. Direct-hire revenue growth decelerated to 10% from 14% in the prior survey.

The survey for SIA’s November Pulse Report included responses from 153 staffing firms. Selected highlights of the November 2022 Pulse Report are available for download to CWS Council members.