Talent Acquisition Timebound

Staffing & Recruiting Trends of 2017: Business as Usual

Our friends at Bullhorn today announced the release of its 2017 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report.

It found that more than 75 percent of staffing and recruiting firms met or exceeded their revenue goals for 2016. Overall, the report showed that the vast majority of staffing and recruiting professionals felt bullish for 2017, despite swelling threats of global economic uncertainty and talent shortages.

Compared to 2016, staffing and recruiting professionals said they expected an even more profitable and productive 2017, marked by growth from temporary placements driven by repeat clients facing talent shortages in key sectors. Eighty percent of respondents said they anticipated some revenue growth, and 17 percent expected revenue growth of more than 25 percent.

Increasing profitability and driving revenue topped the list of staffing and recruiting priorities in 2017, ranked by 56 percent and 47 percent, respectively, as primary goals. Achieving financial stability took precedence over branch expansion plans, as firms also indicated acquisitions and offshore partnerships among lower priorities.

Key findings include:

  • Differing perspectives on global economic uncertainty. Respondents overwhelmingly said domestic issues outweighed global concerns. Overall, the lowest ranked areas of concern correlated to international affairs, including currency fluctuation, international trade, refugee displacement, and Brexit. Three quarters said they’re “indifferent” or “not concerned” about Brexit or refugee displacement – 75 percent and 72 percent, respectively – and more than half – 55 percent – expressed “low concern” about international trade – despite the fact that global market shifts could negatively impact domestic hiring plans.
  • Dividing thoughts on the new presidential administration. Following the contentious 2016 U.S. presidential election, staffing and recruiting leaders remained divided on the impact of the Trump administration. The percentage of respondents who said they’re “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” almost equaled the number who felt “indifferent” or “not concerned” – 48 percent to 51 percent, respectively. On the other hand, 71 percent of staffing firms said they’re “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the potential disruption to their businesses sparked by healthcare policies and regulations, and 35 percent said they’re “very concerned” about it.
  • Increasing challenges of talent shortages. Sixty-one percent of staffing and recruiting professionals said shortages of qualified talent represented one of their biggest expected challenges of the year. Information technology skills dominated the list of skills shortages most reported by recruiters. Engineers and developers, especially those specializing in Java, topped the list of hardest-to-find skills.
  • Tapping into existing and new clients for revenue growth. Nearly 80 percent of staffing and recruiting firms said more than half their revenue would come from current accounts. The majority of North American staffing firms – 57 percent of those surveyed – anticipated that revenue from new clients would account for less than a quarter of total revenues.
  • Focusing more on clients than candidates. Ninety-two percent of respondents said they provided “good” or “excellent” service to clients and 86 percent to candidates, which showed that staffing firms are marginally more focused on serving clients than candidates.
  • Neglecting internal databases for untapped candidates. Staffing and recruiting professionals ranked existing internal candidate databases as the best source for identifying quality candidates, but nearly 60 percent said those databases accounted for less than half of their placements.
  • Lacking key performance metrics to keep business. More than one-third of staffing and recruiting firms said they didn’t measure client satisfaction, and less than half didn’t measure candidate satisfaction, which suggested that companies could be blindsided by negative feedback and lost business.

Related: 13 Recruiting Trends You MUST Know for 2017

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By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.