Professionals responsible for the procurement and performance of staffing services for their organizations focus on outcomes of the service. At the outset of a program, it is common to undertake an RFP process, enabling the buyer to explore the capabilities and investments of its potential partners. Post-award performance metrics — such as time to fill, time to clear, overall cost and post-placement quality of worker — become the typical day-to-day measures in a structured program.

But how often does the program manager have the opportunity to focus a more strategic lens on its supplier base? While service performance measures are important, it’s also helpful — and arguably just as important — to understand how your staffing providers are investing in the futures of their own businesses and staying abreast of the myriad of ongoing industry innovations and developments that could bring future efficiency and improvements to your program.

Here, I share highlights from SIA’s latest Staffing Company Survey, which contains a wide variety of best practices, data and industry trends that buyers can use to either benchmark or simply discuss with their own suppliers as part of a business review.

  • Technology investments. In 2015, just 9% of staffing firms cited technology as their top investment; today the figure is 26%.
  • Self-service. Twenty-eight percent of staffing firms now enable buyers to automatically select workers “mostly without the aid of a human,” an increase of four percentage points from 2018.
  • Human cloud. Thirty-nine percent of firms are considering building, acquiring, or partnering with a human cloud service/company over next two years.
  • For direct hire (permanent recruitment). Fifty-seven percent of firms think LinkedIn offers the best return on investment. For temporary worker recruitment, the figure is lower at 25%.
  • Referral bonuses. Two-thirds or more of staffing firms offer bonuses for referring temporary and direct-hire workers, with 23% of firms offering more than $500 for temporary workers, and 37% offering more than $500 for direct hire.
  • Non-MSP/VMS. There are still plenty of staffing businesses operating outside MSP/VMS programs with 33% of staffing firms reporting no revenue through MSPs, and 25% reporting no revenue through VMSs.
  • Early payment discount. Twenty-three percent of staffing firms offer a discount for early payment terms, with an average discount of 1.5%.
  • Client retention. Just 2% of firms report retaining clients as their No. 1 management priority.
  • Regulatory concerns. The No. 1 law or regulation concerning staffing firms in North America is the Affordable Care Act.
  • Predictions. The most-reported 10-year predictions by staffing firms include an increased role for technology/artificial intelligence, expansion of gig work and staffing convergence with human cloud, and a continuation of talent shortages.

The full report contains further insights, data and trends from 10 years of surveys, and is an invaluable tool to gain insight into how the workforce solutions industry is developing. CWS Council members may access the report, North America Staffing Company Survey. Equivalent data from staffing companies with European staffing operations can be found in the European Staffing Company Survey, also available to CWS Council members.

For information on CWS Council membership, click here.