A global pandemic. The Great Resignation. Work from home, work from anywhere. The world of work has changed so profoundly there is no turning back. In January 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 11.3 million job openings, up 55.7% year over year. And workers are still quitting at 23% higher than the pre-pandemic levels.

There has never been a better time to be in the staffing industry.

Workers have become more comfortable with the “free agent” model. With employee sentiment shifting from cradle-to-grave employment to letting me work the way I want to work, labor models have evolved as well. Providing much needed skills with day one results, staffing agencies have become much-needed partners to talent acquisition, operations and procurement. Without the right people in the right roles, business screeches to a halt, something no organization can afford.

The pandemic caused workers — and employers — to examine many aspects of business as usual. In a recent survey issued by Pew Charitable Trust, reasons for quitting a job ranged from childcare issues to not enough flexibility. Yet, at the top of the list were familiar themes: no opportunities for advancement (33%) and low pay (37%). Worker dissatisfaction has become a supply of qualified talent for staffing firms.

PREMIUM CONTENT: North America Internal Staff Survey 2022: Retaining Internal Staff: What Drives Staff Satisfaction, Why They Leave Jobs, How to Keep Them Happy

In some sectors, such as IT, there’s no unemployment at all. Companies that depend on hourly workers are struggling to attract and retain talent. According to SHRM research, 93% are having trouble hiring for entry-level positions.

The Great Resignation has been a signal: People are no longer “connected” to one employer. Driven by restlessness created by the pandemic, workers know opportunities are abundant. What better place to start than through a staffing firm? Workers have their pick of work environment and can set forth a road back (or elsewhere) that ensures work-life balance and lots of options.

The cost of talent will continue to rise. As employers need to invest more in sourcing and recruiting, turning to trusted agency partners will be more cost-effective.

The candidate is in control. It’s indisputable and not apt to change any time soon. Flexibility is a currency that’s valued far more than compensation. Autonomy and location rank high on the wish list for knowledge workers. This power balance works in the favor of staffing agencies, creating high demand from employers willing to support flexible scheduling and new ways of working.

My upcoming posts will cover three more aspects of modern staffing that no firm can ignore: technology, candidates, and partner ecosystems. Stay tuned!

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