7 March 2017

Last month, Staffing Industry Analysts hosted their annual Executive Forum in North America which was attended by more than 1,200 people from staffing companies. In the warm San Diego sunshine many of the event’s participants were optimistic about the business climate after the November elections so without further ado here are the main highlights.

SIA had previously forecasted the US staffing market revenue to grow 4% in 2016 and then a further 4% in 2017 to reach a record $145 billion. “2017 is likely to be a year of change and transition for the industry,” said SIA President Barry Asin. “There’s never been greater opportunity, but staffing executives face a more complex world than ever before as we saw during the Executive Forum.”

Recently, US Fortune 500 hirers were polled by SIA and the results revealed that 22% of their workforce was contingent in 2016. This is an increase compared to 12% 2009 and the surveyed hirers, on average believe their contingent workforce will rise further to 29% by 2026. This is due to record levels of temp penetration in the US at 2.05% as more enterprises are relying on the flexible workforce to get the job done.

There have been many new entrants into the market that are changing the workforce solutions ecosystem. Human cloud is currently experiencing explosive growth – a large number of companies are experimenting with the model in different industries. Human cloud is a newly developed business model, based on providing tasks or projects, not jobs, to be performed remotely and on-demand by independent workers who are not employees. This development shows how companies are bringing a technology-first approach to attracting and deploying talent from across the skills spectrum.

As a result of easing uncertainty, insiders are optimistic that IT growth will reaccelerate in 2017. Although there is much concern around the recent restrictions being placed on the H-1B visa program. It will certainly be a challenge for recruitment, however, there is some positivity around the admission that offshore providers and system integrators which use the H-1B program often bring in talent at below-market wages.

Overall the atmosphere at the Executive Forum was optimistic for the coming year, sparked by a more “pro-business” federal government administration which could facilitate a stronger GDP growth in 2017. Changing business models and the adoption of new technologies remains a current trend in the staffing industry with AI and robotics at the forefront of the dynamic recruitment landscape.