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Staffing Industry Trends: Business Development vs. Economic Downturn

by | Mar 27, 2017 | Top Echelon Blog

What are recruiters’ highest business priority for 2017? Do recruiters think there will be a recession this year? And what, exactly, do they think about President Donald Trump? As you might have already guessed, we have the answers to these questions in Top Echelon’s 2016-17 State of the Industry Report!

At the end of last year, Top Echelon conducted a survey of more than 5,000 recruiters nationwide to compile information, specifically staffing and recruiting trends. The survey gauged recruiters’ opinions regarding a wide range of topics.

If there’s one thing that all recruiters want to do, it’s make more placements and more money. That’s why we devoted a portion of our staffing industry report to business priorities and overall economic considerations. Sure the “big picture” is made up of a bunch of “little pictures,” but it’s always good to view current conditions through the “big picture perspective.” Get the picture?

Trends in the staffing industry: business priorities

Question #1 – “What is your highest business priority for 2017?”

As one of our previous blog posts on recruitment industry trends illustrated, sourcing candidates of the highest quality is a priority for recruiters. However, is it their highest business priority for this year? The answer: a resounding “No!”

That’s because “Finding new clients” was the runaway winner with 39.9% of the responses. “Sourcing higher quality candidates” was a distant second at 22.7%. What does this tell us?

Well, it tells us something we already know. New clients issue new job orders. A recruiter can’t make a placement without a job order. He could have the best candidates in the history of the world. But if he doesn’t have job orders, then those candidates are worthless.

The bottom line: recruiters know which side of their bread is buttered. It’s buttered on both sides by their clients. Clients issue job orders to recruiters (butter on one side), and then clients pay the recruiting fee (butter on the other side).

The recruiting business is good right now. By and large, job orders are plentiful. Recruiters don’t care about that: they want more clients. You can’t blame them. They know firsthand the danger of “putting all of your eggs in one basket.” That basket gets rid of the hiring manager you’ve been working with for years and replaces them with somebody who doesn’t like recruiters. So instead of double-buttered bread, you have broken eggs. A sad scenario, indeed.

Report teaser: “Adding new income streams” garnered over 10% of the responses for this particular question. One of the ways to do so is to start making contract placements by using recruitment back office solutions. The temporary staffing industry has made a surge in recent years in regards to overall employment. More and more organizations are hiring workers on a contract basis, and recruiters can take advantage of this trend. To find out more of recruiters’ top business priorities for 2017 and other temporary staffing industry trends, download our State of the Industry Report.

Staffing industry analysis: the possibility of a recession

Question #2 – “Are you preparing for an economic downturn in 2017?”

The most popular answer to this survey question was quite simple: “No.”

Over 62% of the recruiters who participated in the survey indicated that they do NOT believe that a recession will start this year. Here’s the interesting part: that’s more than the percentage who said “No” in 2015. That percentage was 53%.

Here’s the reason this is interesting. We are now in the second-longest bull market in the history of the United States. The longer a bull market runs, the closer you get to the next recession. Technically, we were close to recession in 2016 than we were in 2015. However, recruiters don’t seem to see it that way.

Regardless of American history or the laws of economics and finance, the recruiters in this survey believe that a recession is farther away now than it was in 2015. The main reason they believe that may have something to do with who won the Presidential Election in November. We’ll explore that issue in due time in the next session. Before that, though . . .

Report teaser: Since 62% of recruiters said “No” to this survey question, does that mean 38% said “Yes”? The answer to that question is . . . no. Confused yet? Well, you don’t have to be. All you have to do is download our State of the Industry Report. The haze of confusion will be lifted and your questions will be answered. Nobody likes a recession. Nobody even likes to talk about a recession. But just like death and taxes, one is coming. On the heels of that cheery thought, on to the next question!

Staffing forecast: the “Trump Effect”

Question #3 – “What do you believe the effect to be, if any, of new President-elect Trump on the recruiting industry?”

This is where things really got interesting in our survey. (That really should not surprise anybody.) Just how polarizing was this question? Nearly 23% of the recruiters who participated in the survey skipped the question altogether. But of course, that means the majority of recruiters did answer the question.

And this question was not multiple choice, either. It was open-ended, which means recruiters were free to speak their mind. And when recruiters speak their mind, you can bank on the fact that it will be both informative and entertaining. For example, below are two things that recruiters said in response to this question:

“Presidential jawboning may have some effect, but economic/market forces drive the economy. Presidents get credit and blame for what happens on their watch, but I don’t think they have much real influence on the economy.”

“Companies will always need to hire no matter who is President. He has to be an improvement over the last President.”

Report teaser: What else did recruiters say about President Trump? Download our State of the Industry Report to find out! And since fewer recruiters believe there will be a recession than the year before, does that mean Trump is the reason? Are recruiters more optimistic about the future because Donald Trump is our President? Let’s sit back and think about that one for a while. Do you think that is actually the case? Don’t everybody jump in all at once here . . .

Trends in Staffing Industry: Recap

It’s that time again. That’s right, it’s time for a recap!

  • Sourcing quality candidates may stress recruiters out, but their #1 business priority is getting more clients.
  • Overall, recruiters are NOT expecting (nor preparing for) an economic downturn or recession of any kind in 2017.
  • Recruiters have a wide range of opinions regarding Donald Trump and what his presidency will mean for their business. But it appears as though his election has made them more optimistic overall.

There is much more in the way of staffing industry trends and challenges in Top Echelon’s State of the Industry Report. Also included are the following:

  • Staffing industry statistics regarding which industries are plentiful for placements . . . and which ones are not
  • Recruiting and staffing industry insights tied to client and candidate behavior during the hiring process
  • Preferences about how to do business development in recruitment
  • What recruiters think about the role of technology in the industry and the impact of the Millennial Generation
  • The effectiveness of candidate sourcing and job advertising options

And there IS much more! You can download Top Echelon’s 2016-2017 State of the Recruiting Industry Report for even more staffing industry trends by clicking on the link below.

Download the 2016-2017 State of the Industry Report!

(Editor’s note: Top Echelon surveyed more than 5,000 independent recruiting agencies nationwide for this report, providing a snapshot of the recruitment agency industry. All information is based upon answers submitted by recruiters during the month of December 2016.)

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