In May and June 2020, Haley Marketing conducted an online survey of staffing industry professionals to find out how our industry has been impacted by the pandemic. We’re sharing the results, as well as key takeaways, in an 8-part series of posts (you can catch up by scrolling to the links at the bottom).

Today’s installment includes staffing professionals’ perspectives on how the pandemic may change the way people perceive the staffing industry.

Q: How do you feel this pandemic will impact the perception of the staffing industry? (open-ended response) 

For this question, many respondents answered how they believed the pandemic will impact the staffing industry directly – not necessarily how it will impact the perception of the industry.  

Regardless, the answers ran the gamut from positive/optimistic to decidedly negative. Responses are categorized below, and notable answers representative of each group have been included:  

Positive Impact / Positive Perception: 54 

(e.g., improved reputation, positive impact, increased reliance on staffing, perceived as a partner, seen as a valuable resource, essential tool for recovery) 

“My hope is that this will shine a light on the flexibility and nimbleness of the staffing industry and how they truly are a partner with companies not a threat to companies. There is great value in this partnership when staffing agencies and business align in their thought.” 

“Hopefully our perceived value will increase. Finding quality talent remains to be the biggest challenge among most staffing agencies and their clients.” 

“It will create a new respect for the abilities of staffing companies to find the right employees for specific companies. Employers will use this as a way to cull poor workers.” 

“Hopefully it will make us more necessary because companies won’t want to hire and have to lay off talent due to surges that may occur with COVID-19 returning in the fall/winter. They will want a more flexible workforce.” 

Negative Impact / Negative Perception: 26 

(e.g., decreased reliance on staffing, take hiring in-house, staffing firms are not needed, much tougher for smaller staffing firms to survive) 

“The pandemic will have others perceiving staffing as a commodity – since unemployment is higher, clients think they can do it alone, not understanding the quality won’t be the same, while HR teams continue to be overwhelmed with work.” 

“Some firms might think we’re unnecessary since there are far more people unemployed and/or looking for work at the higherlevel paying jobs that we handle.”

Mixed Impact / No Net Impact on Perception: 47 

(e.g., will have positive and negative impacts, no change, negative short-term but positive long-term impact) 

I feel that it might be mixed. Perception may increase due to the service/value we add to their job search. As well as clients being able to have a flexible expense with their workforce. On the other hand, some candidates might begin to have negative impact on perception because they’ll feel that we are not helping their job search enough.”  

I think the perception of staffing will be that we are becoming obsolete as UE is so high; HOWEVER, UE is paying so much that it’s hard to find the right people! Which hiring managers will soon discover firsthand. Their schedules will become busier with less time to recruit on their own, and we will again become their major resource.  

To be honest, we don’t feel as though the pandemic will have a major impact on the staffing industry (at least in the Bay Area – SF, Silicon Valley, Oakland). The worries are more so around how this will change the HR landscape and how we will adapt to fit new talent acquisition and work arrangement models (especially in our contract businesses). 

Covid-19 recovery will negatively impact some business segments, however, others will feel no effect, and some will see positive growth in the short and long term. The recovery may see some business models fundamentally undermined while it could provide a boost for others.

Unsure: 23 

(e.g., it’s too early to tell, time will tell, not sure)  

Up Next: Ensuring a Bright Future

What’s the best way to ensure a better future for your staffing company? In my next post I’ll address this question, as well as wrap up this Staffing Industry Outlook series. But, if you don’t want to wait, you can download the full, FREE eBook “2020 Entering the Economic Rebound Staffing Industry Outlook” here!

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?

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

Interested in more staffing industry news?

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