Changing technology, the gig economy, MSPs and President Donald Trump’s effect on the staffing industry and their clients were among the topics discussed during the opening keynote and panel Tuesday at the Staffing Industry Executive Forum North America in San Diego.

Barry Asin, president of Staffing Industry Analysts, delivered a keynote address and then led a keynote panel discussion with industry executives from Allegis Global Solutions, AMN Healthcare, ManpowerGroup and On Assignment. The good news is the temp penetration rate is back to record levels. However, many changes are expected on various fronts of the industry, including labor agencies (DOL, NLRB), the ACA and immigration.

Here are some of the comments from the two sessions:

  • Large companies that use staffing plan to increase the size of their contingent workforces, Asin said, citing research by SIA. In 2026, staffing buyers estimated 29% of their workforce would be contingent, up from 22% today.
  • US companies spent $792 billion on contingent/gig work in 2015, including temporary agency workers, independent contractors, statement-of-work consultants and human cloud workers (online staffing and other parts of the human cloud).
  • Trump’s potential impact on staffing, Asin said, includes a boost to business confidence in the short- to near-term. In addition, Trump will be making appointments to several federal agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor. The overtime rule championed by President Obama’s administration likely won’t happen. However, more restrictions may come to H-1B visas.
  • Trump and the Republican Congress also made pledges regarding the Affordable Care Act. Asin said one possible outcome of changes would be a simplification in compliance. “Complying with the ACA won’t get more complex … it can’t,” Asin said. On the other hand, complexity can also be beneficial to staffing firms as buyers can turn to the industry to offload that complexity. There will also be a wait-and-see approach as to how ACA changes would affect the healthcare staffing industry.
  • “Twitter cross hairs” was also a concern raised by Asin. Could the industry ever become a target of a tweet from the president?
  • On Assignment CEO Dameris said online staffing platforms where staffing buyers engage a person entirely online won’t take over the world. The W-2 solution offered by staffing firms provides flexibility without concerns over independent contractor misclassification along with more benefits. “The higher skill, the more human interaction,” Dameris said.
  • ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO Jonas Prising said 98% of online platform jobs are second and third jobs. While online platforms will have a place, they won’t take over the value that the industry provides.
  • Discussing MSPs, Allegis Global Solutions President Chad Lane said any good MSP realizes it has two customers: the staffing buyer and the suppliers. “If one is taking advantage of the other, everybody loses.”
  • Asked what the year 2027 will look like in terms of staffing, AMN Healthcare President and CEO Susan Salka said there will be more workforce solutions.

The Executive Forum continues through Thursday.