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2020 Staffing Industry Outlook Survey, Part 6: Looking to the Future

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How long will it take for things to get back to “normal”?  

This was one of the questions Haley sought to answer in our May/June 2020 survey, conducted to find out how our industry has been impacted by the pandemic. 

Today’s post is one of a series in which we’re sharing the survey data and important insights for your staffing firm.

Related posts in this series:

2020 Staffing Industry Outlook Survey, Part 1: Entering the Economic Rebound

2020 Staffing Industry Outlook Survey, Part 2: Impact and Recovery

2020 Staffing Industry Outlook Survey, Part 3: Adjusting Sales & Recruitment Strategies

2020 Staffing Industry Outlook Survey, Part 4: Changes in Marketing & Recruiting Budgets

2020 Staffing Industry Outlook Survey, Part 5: What’s working in sales and marketing?

In this section of our survey, respondents weighed in on the long-term impact of the pandemic – on clients, the economy and our industry. 

Q: What statement best summarizes your clients’ outlook on employees returning to work? 

Notable data points: 

  • Uncertainty is prevalent. More than 40% of clients don’t know how their employees will feel about returning to work. 
  • Nearly 4 in 10 staffing clients believe that people will want to stay on unemployment as long as possible because of increased unemployment benefits. 
  • Roughly 18% of employers believe they will have no trouble bringing back laid-off/furloughed employees or hiring good people. 

 When Temporaries Don’t Want to Return 

If associates are reluctant to go back to their assignments, here are three ways to address the situation: 

  • Ease their worries. Explain what you and your clients are doing to keep workers safe: PPE, health screenings, cleaning/disinfecting protocols and more. The safer associates feel, the more likely they will be to return.
  • Explain the WIIFM. As businesses continue reopening, many will begin hiring again – and offering their current temporary employees direct positions. 
  • Create a sense of urgency. Communicate that, once additional unemployment benefits run out at the end of July, the job market will likely be flooded with candidates competing for the same openings. Going back to work now will allow associates to beat the rush. 

Help Employers Make the Most of Today’s Talent Market 

  • Skill-market your best candidates to help clients capitalize on the short-term availability of high-quality, high-potential talent. 
  • Explain the value of your services in a talent-rich market: improving process efficiency by offloading time-intensive recruiting, screening and vetting activities; identifying highpotential candidates; accessing talent to scale up quickly as market improves. 

Q: How long do you feel it will take for the economy to recover to pre-COVID levels?  


Staffing recovery is predicted to be faster than overall economic recovery.  

  • 84% of respondents believe their company will recover in a year or less.  
  • 79% believe it will take the economy longer to recover: between seven months and two years.  
  • This difference is likely due to the fact that changes in staffing industry employment frequently occur before changes in overall employment, especially following a recession.

Get Your Bounce Back Faster 

When a downturn hits, marketing more aggressively helps you boost awareness and stay top-of-mind. It signals to the market that your business is doing well (people want to work with successful companies!). This activity and visibility create the momentum you need to accelerate recovery.  

On-demand webinars to help you rebound faster: 

Build Back Better: Prospecting During Uncertain Times: Upgrade your skill set and create more opportunities by learning how to prospect virtually. 

Not Your Father’s Marketing – Essential Strategies for Success in 2020: Learn the tools and strategies you should include to modernize your marketing mix and achieve more in 2020. 

Up Next: Perceptions of the Staffing Industry

How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the way people view the staffing industry? Find out in our next post! If you can’t wait until then, download the full, FREE eBook “2020 Entering the Economic Rebound Staffing Industry Outlook” here!

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