As the war for talent heats up, companies are looking for new ways to recruit, onboard and retain top talent. It’s imperative not just to understand what key skills your company needs down the road but also at how the talent marketplace is behaving. This will help you — the buyers of staffing services — give your staffing suppliers or your own recruiters a heads up. One way to do this is to take a look at the Staffing Industry Analysts’ Pulse Survey to find out if staffing revenue is accelerating or decelerating in the segments that you care about. Segments covered by the survey are: industrial, travel nursing, locum tenens, finance/accounting, allied healthcare, per diem nursing, office/clerical, IT and engineering/design. The real-time revenue data from each month is submitted by more than 100 staffing companies. The report is published monthly and serves as a barometer of staffing acceleration and deceleration year over year. This week, the results for September showed a slight deceleration overall, down just one percentage point from August. How can you use this information? By knowing what’s hot and what’s not, you can not just anticipate future supply/demand issues but plan accordingly.

What’s hot. Healthcare is in the spotlight with travel nursing revenue growing faster than any segment and locum tenens (physicians) also accelerating. This is significant for buyers in healthcare facilities because it tells them they should be working with their staffing suppliers closely to monitor the supply of these healthcare professionals and create opportunities to increase supply, recruiting and retention efforts. Allied healthcare and per diem nursing decelerated in September from August; however, one major healthcare staffing provider reported that the average bill rate in its nurse and allied staffing division was up 7% year over year in its second quarter, reflecting high demand. In any event, the September forecast for healthcare overall was 12.7% growth in 2015 and 14.2% growth in 2016, so buyers should expect increased pressure. Finance and accounting also showed strong growth, mirroring the September forecast.

What’s not. Engineering/design continued to decelerate as it is partly affected by continued weakness in the oil and gas sector. Reduced use upstream (exploration and production) has cut staffing demand by as much as 20%. Modest growth of 2% in 2015 is forecasted for this segment overall, with better prospects at 5% growth in 2016. The types of engineers you will want staffing firms to focus on may include civil, mechanical and environmental, depending on your business focus.

In a nutshell, median year-over-year revenue growth was greater in September than it was in August in the following staffing segments: Industrial, travel nursing, locum tenens, finance/accounting. Median year-over-year revenue growth decelerated in September from August in: Allied healthcare staffing and per diem nursing. It remained unchanged in: office/clerical, IT and engineering/design staffing.

You can use this information when talking to your staffing providers about key skills you need help obtaining today. Take note of the peaks and valleys in the cycle to prepare your company for success as the talent wars continue. If you want more information around supply and demand for critical skills, check out our report on Global Buyers Survey: Hardest-to-recruit skills as well.