3 Staffing agency trends to watch for in 2017

As a sub-set of the jobs market at large, the staffing industry generally follows the ebb and flow of employment—but within that current are gems of wisdom staffing agencies can incorporate to improve operations.

As a sub-set of the jobs market at large, the staffing industry generally follows the ebb and flow of employment—but within that current is wisdom that staffing agencies can incorporate to improve operations.

America's unemployment rate is currently hovering around a healthy 5 percent, so does that mean recruiters' jobs are done? Not so fast—trending figures and ideas are primed to change up the game plan for many companies in 2017.

1. Changing of the guard

Baby boomers are retiring at a rapid rate, and in 2015 the Pew Research Center reported that millennials overtook the former as well as Generation X as top dogs in the workforce. Roughly one-third of the entire workforce are millennials, which has posed some issues for employers.

An American Staffing Association survey identified 158 occupations currently in the midst of a skills gap. This is likely due to the constant flux of employees. Large groups of veterans are retiring rapidly, leaving little time for younger workers to get brought up to speed. Some of the industries most affected by this phenomenon are health care, clerical and administrative office work, engineering and managerial positions.

Staffing trend: Staffing agencies will be called upon more often as business look to fill skill gaps quickly while training new talent.

2. Branding is everything

Top talent isn't only wooed by exorbitant salaries in this day and age—employer reputation and brand is just as important. Companies should be leveraging social media more often as a way to paint a narrative of what it's like to work in their office.

"A good company that knows how to hire makes their brand and what they are 'offering' to potential employers paramount," says Tristan Marchette, Senior Managing Consultant with Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Boston. "And by 'offering', I don't mean base salary or benefits – candidates like to know why a company is a great place to work, how it is different and what it stands for in a social sense."

"One-third of businesses don't utilize social media in their recruiting efforts."

A CareerBuilder survey shined a light on staffing agency clients and their use of networking, and what it found isn't indicative to modern hiring trends. One-third of these businesses don't utilize social media in their recruiting efforts, while one-quarter of those who do Tweet, Like and post pictures only do so a couple of times each month. This creates a window of opportunity for the staffing industry to act in a consultative role to clients who struggle to expand their recruiting efforts to modern channels.

Staffing trend: When courting new clients, bring up your staffing firm's social media savvy—show these companies how organizational reputation can be the final decision maker for top talent, and how your agency can help fill that gap.

3. Going mobile

The way society interacts with the internet is changing and it's forcing some companies to take another look at their websites. Nearly 3 in every 4 staffing candidates have hunted for their next job on a phone, CareerBuilder reported. As smartphone ownership rises in the country, so too will this number—until desktop- and laptop-based searches become a thing of the past.

Many temporary workers rely on search functionality to find their next job, and if they can't do that on their phone, they may go to another staffing agency that allows search flexibility. "A coveted candidate, such as a software engineer, does not have time anymore to sit at home and review company websites or job descriptions," notes Mr. Marchette. "They rely on their recruiters' rundown of the position and organization and they will oftentimes review a company website from one interview to the next. That makes mobile key for two reasons – 1) mobile will be more readily accessible and 2) a mobile-optimized website denotes a technically-progressive company."

The ASA reported that companies work with staffing firms mainly because of the flexibility the relationship offers and the constant access to great talent. Ensuring that job searching is completely functional on mobile only adds to that value point.

Staffing trend: Staffing agencies that focus on upgrading their websites to be mobile-responsive in 2017 will have yet another selling point to potential clients, and will enable their temporary workers to find the next dream job on the go.

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