By Lynn Connor, COATS Staffing Software
How is the staffing industry fairing as we move into 2024? The answer is complex and nuanced. While there are certainly positive indicators, there’s always potential challenges to consider. Par for the course in the staffing industry, actually.
What factors have a large effect on staffing agencies? For starters, “the unemployment rate edged down to 3.7 percent in November, and the number of unemployed persons showed little change at 6.3 million,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As far the economy is concerned, J.P. Morgan is hoping for a boring year sharing that “our baseline U.S. economic forecast for 2024 can be summed up by the number 2024 – 2% growth, 0 recessions, 2% inflation and unemployment staying at roughly 4%.” They see economic growth for 2024 slowing considering a surprisingly strong last year.
A slower economy can make it challenging to partner with clients who are willing to pay a staffing agency enough to provide temporary employees a good wage, then securing not only talent but the right talent for each role along with changes in legislation and employment law while keeping up with technology to run your daily operations – it’s a lot!
Overall, while there are some challenges to consider, the outlook for the staffing industry in 2024 is generally positive. The strong economy, low unemployment, and skills gap suggest that there will be continued demand for staffing services. However, it is important for staffing agencies to be aware of the potential challenges and to adapt strategies accordingly.
Let’s review some positive staffing industry indicators for 2024:
- Economic growth: The US economy is projected to grow by 1.3% – 2% in 2024, which should lead to increased hiring across various sectors. OECD Economic Outlook is one source projecting a global GDP growth of 2.7% in 2024, with the US contributing 1.5% to that growth.
- Low unemployment: The unemployment rate is currently at 3.7%, near a historical low, which means there is a strong demand for workers.
- Skills gap: There is a growing skills gap in many industries, making it difficult for companies to find qualified candidates. This creates opportunities for staffing agencies to help companies fill their talent needs.
- Industry-specific reports and surveys: Many research organizations and trade groups within specific sectors like IT, healthcare, and manufacturing provide valuable insights into the evolving skills landscape and the widening gap between talent and required skills. Examining these reports for your target industry can offer further evidence for your statement.
- Increased use of temporary and contract workers: Companies are increasingly turning to temporary and contract workers to fill short-term needs and to also test-run potential employees before hiring them permanently.
Staffing Industry Challenges for 2024:
- Wage inflation: Wages are rising faster than inflation, which could put pressure on staffing agencies’ margins.
- Political uncertainty: The upcoming presidential election and other political factors could create uncertainty in the economy, which could lead to businesses being hesitant to hire.
- Technological advancements: Automation and other technological advancements could lead to some job losses, which could impact the demand for staffing services.
Here are some additional insights from staffing industry experts:
- “The staffing industry is expected to grow at a rate of 3.2% in 2024, which is faster than the overall economy.” – American Staffing Association
- “The demand for temporary and contract workers is expected to continue to grow in 2024, driven by the skills gap and the need for flexibility.” – Staffing Industry Analysts
- “Staffing agencies that can adapt to technological advancements and provide value-added services will be the most successful in 2024.” – Staffing Industry Review
Instead of simply reviewing the data and predictions for the upcoming year, let’s proactively review recruiting strategies.
After all, overcoming the skills gap and competing with direct employers are key obstacles in recruiting. Managing the high volume of candidates and maintaining a positive candidate experience can also be a regular struggle.
By understanding the current landscape and deploying strategic tactics, you can transform your agency into a talent magnet.
Here are some ideas to up your recruiting game:
- Embrace niche expertise: Forget generic job descriptions. Today’s candidates crave jobs that leverage their unique skills and passions. Dig deep into your existing clientele, identify in-demand skill sets, and see if you can build niche recruiting expertise. Become the go-to agency for a specific industry or role, attracting both top talent and specialized clients.
- Go beyond the job board: The days of posting and hoping are over. Actively source candidates where they congregate: online communities, professional groups, and social media platforms. Engage with influencers in the sectors that you specialize in, build meaningful relationships, and position your agency as a trusted career partner.
- Craft irresistible employer branding: Your brand is your story. Tell it loud and proud! Showcase your company culture, highlight employee success stories, and emphasize the unique perks and benefits you offer. Many job candidates will check reviews of a company before even accepting an interview, so your online presence matters. Make candidates feel valued and excited about joining your team. This isn’t focused on nearly enough and future generations care about your company brand, culture, and mission.
- Master the candidate experience: The hiring process shouldn’t feel like an obstacle course. Streamline your application process, prioritize timely communication, and provide clear feedback at every stage. Make candidates feel respected and informed, even if they’re not offered the job. So many applicants get discouraged from not getting any feedback whatsoever, don’t let this be your agency. Candidates will remember, and they have friends.
- Leverage technology: Tools are your allies in the fight for talent. Explore applicant tracking systems, candidate relationship management platforms, and AI-powered sourcing tools. Automate tasks, gain valuable insights, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your recruitment efforts. Consider offering AI-powered services as an add-on to your existing staffing software. This can differentiate you from competitors and attract clients looking for innovative solutions.
Attracting top talent isn’t just about filling positions; it’s about building long-term relationships. Create a compelling employer brand, invest in candidate experience, and leverage technology. Artificial Intelligence has it’s place in staffing and recruiting but it absolutely cannot replace the human component in this industry.
Ready to revolutionize your recruitment game in 2024?
COATS Staffing Software has the technology needed to handle your daily operations. With powerful automation tools, data-driven insights, and a focus on candidate engagement, COATS empowers you to attract, qualify, and onboard top talent with ease. Let’s talk!