10 Staffing Industry Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

The staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry is bigger, more sophisticated, and probably more varied than most people realize. In fact, it provides career opportunities to almost 15 million employees per year. The team at Murray Resources – Houston’s top recruiting firm – has put together a list of ten staffing industry facts that most people don’t know.

1. Staffing Agencies Have Been Around a Long Time
The modern birth of the staffing industry dates back to the 1940’s, when many employees’ positions were vacated after they left to join the military during WWII. The extreme lack of talent and increase of open positions created a need for the first-ever staffing agencies. The industry continued to grow – and those who were around in the 1960’s will remember the iconic “Kelly Girl” ads. The industry has evolved dramatically since then and is no longer limited to administrative, temporary work. Today there are staffing firms specializing in virtually every industry, placing workers in a wide variety of highly-skilled positions.

2. The Staffing Industry is Larger than Most People Realize, Yet it’s Highly-Fragmented.
Staffing is a $174B industry – and one of the fastest-growing industries in B2B services. There are over 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies in the U.S., operating over 39,000 offices combined. However, most of them are generating under $10M in annual revenue, with approximately 100 companies surpassing over $100M. There are approximately 15 publicly traded U.S. staffing companies.

3. Their Popularity Continues to Grow
The change from the nine-to-five, permanent workforce to the flexible, on-demand workforce we’ve seen in recent years has resulted in massive growth of the staffing industry. With the rise of the contingent workforce, there are now more agencies placing more workers for more companies than ever before—and the numbers are only expected to increase.

4. They Go by a Wide Variety of Names
Ever wonder what differentiates a staffing agency from a headhunter? What differentiates a recruitment firm from an employment agency? Not much! For all intents and purposes, these terms are virtually synonymous. Though they can go by many different names, and this can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the industry, they all fulfill the same basic function. They all place job candidates for client companies for a fee.

5. Workers Hired through Staffing Agencies Are Typically Highly-skilled and Experienced
Job seekers who work with staffing companies don’t do so because they aren’t qualified and can’t find real jobs on their own. They do so for a myriad of reasons, such as the increased flexibility, the better connections, the negotiation assistance, the opportunity to work in different fields and for different companies, and/or the high pay. Most staffing agencies have wide networks filled with talented individuals who are skilled and highly-experienced.

6. Staffing is part of a bigger cultural shift in the way we work.
The days of long-term, salaried, full-time jobs are over for a growing number of Americans – and temporary and contract work is here to stay. An often-cited Intuit report predicts that contingent workers (such as freelancers, temporary employees, contract workers, or consultants) will make up an astounding 40% of the workforce by 2020. Both because of economic shifts and personal choice, workers are moving more towards temporary employment arrangements.

7. Staffing helps candidates get permanent jobs.
Part of the reason staffing gets a bad rap is its temporary nature. But many candidates use the experience and connections gained in temp jobs to gain permanent gigs – the American Staffing Association reports that nine out of 10 staffing employees felt their temporary jobs made them more employable, and a third of individuals were offered permanent jobs on their assignments.

8. When unemployment is low, more employers turn to staffing.
68% of HR professionals said they’ve had difficulty recruiting for full-time regular positions in the last 12 months, while only 50% reported this trouble in 2013, according to a recent SHRM report. The biggest challenges they face include a low number of applicants, lack of experience among applicants, and competition from other employers. In addition to devoting more time and resources to recruiting, finding creative new ways to recruit, and increasing training budgets, more HR departments are turning to temporary staffing agencies as a means to find qualified employees.

9. Staffing companies serve almost every industry.
The American Staffing Association data on candidate industry placement:
• 37% Industrial
• 28% Office–Clerical and Administrative
• 13% Professional–Managerial
• 13% Engineering, Information Technology, and Scientific
• 9% Health Care

10. The Staffing Industry Has Room to Grow
While staffing industry growth has outpaced overall economic and employment growth, it employs only 2% of the U.S. nonfarm workforce.


Sources: American Staffing Association, Link Franchising, Staff Edge, Smith Staffing