Understanding your staffing providers’ concerns and business trends will go a long way in helping contingent workforce program managers build strong partnerships to best fill workforce needs. Published every two months, SIA’s “US Staffing Industry Pulse Survey Report” series 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,” said Matt Norton, SIA’s workforce solutions research director. “Being an educated buyer is an absolute benefit to your organization and your CW program and can help you educate internal stakeholders on market trends or challenges. It is clear from the report that many of the challenges staffing firms are facing mirror the issues faced by buyer organizations — namely talent mismatch, inflation and worker turnover and ghosting.”

The survey featured in the “September Pulse report” found a net increase in new orders of 36% — in line with the 35% net increase reported from the survey conducted in July, which was the lowest since July 2020. However, a net 49% of staffing firms surveyed in September still expect an increasing trend in the next six months, up from 42% in the prior report.

In addition, the talent shortage may have eased somewhat, with average recruiting difficulty decreasing to 3.49 from 3.72 in the July report. However, the September report notes that recruiting difficulty was particularly high for firms serving the manufacturing industry at 4.35; by staffing focus, the industrial and office/clerical segments were also relatively high at 4.04 and 4.00, respectively.

The survey also offers some insight into bill rates. A net 38% of staffing firms reported an increasing trend in bill rates over the last three months; however, only a net 28% expect an increasing trend in the next six months.

Provider Landscape: Qualified Talent Is Biggest Challenge

Temporary staffing revenues reported in the September Pulse survey were in line with the prior survey. Respondents reported a median 21% year-over-year increase and 23% aggregate increase in their US temporary staffing revenue in August; median year-over-year growth has remained 21% for each of the past three surveys.

The healthcare sectors remained strong. The travel nurse staffing segment continued its surprising resilience beyond peak pandemic times, up a median 65% year over year in August, followed by allied healthcare, up 25%.

Marketing/creative and IT were the next strongest staffing segments at 15% and 13% respectively. No segment recorded a negative year-over-year change in revenue; however, all staffing segments except legal, marketing/creative and engineering decelerated on a median basis from the previous survey in July. Direct-hire revenue was up 14%.

The survey also queried staffing providers about their challenges. Ninety-four participants responded to the question, “What is the biggest challenge that your staffing firm is currently facing?” Forty percent of respondents referred to recruiting qualified talent as their biggest challenge, 15% mentioned candidate no shows/turnover/unwillingness to work and 10% pointed to economic weakness/inflation as a challenge.

The survey for SIA’s September Pulse Report included responses from 146 staffing firms. Selected highlights of the “September 2022 Pulse Report” is available for download to CWS Council members.