2019 Staffing Trends: The Year of the Supertemp

February 14, 2019 Leah Hoffmann

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Every year, the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the Global Advisor on Staffing and Workforce Solutions, reports on the most important global staffing trends.

In the 2019 report, we were interested to see a number of things that validate our own perspective on the high-end gig economy.

Here are three of SIA’s most impactful 2019 staffing trends, in our view:

  1. Staffing shortages: SIA notes that staffing firms—like HR leaders and other top executives—regularly cite talent shortages as the biggest barrier to business growth. Major declines in the labor force are expected as baby boomers around the globe retire in ever greater numbers. The good news? Talent shortages are also paving the way for alternative ways to work. That’s something savvy search firms like Heidrick & Struggles are determined to capitalize on by offering clients ever faster and more seamless access to the growing pool of high-end independent professionals. These so-called supertemps prefer to work with big companies on a project basis, rather than full-time.
  2. Gig economy: On-demand staffing platforms continue to gain ground and expand their enterprise-wide agile workforce solutions. As SIA notes, while industry-watchers were waiting for the “Uber of staffing” to emerge, Uber itself got into the game with Uber Works, which focuses on the hiring of short-term workers for events and corporate functions. At the high end of the talent marketplace, companies like Business Talent Group are also attracting plenty of attention, with an investment from global workforce solutions leader Kelly Services and an exclusive collaboration with Heidrick & Struggles.
  3. Procurement sophistication: Contingent workforce managers are adopting increasingly complex procurement solutions. According to SIA, “Many believe that total talent acquisition is the next summit to climb, combining proactive sourcing solutions for both employed and non-employed talent.” Given how focused most big companies are on enhancing organizational agility, this is a trend we expect to continue, as organizations seek to nimbly adjust the assets—including human ones—they put against each initiative.

From the perspective of the staffing industry, these trends offer big opportunities for firms that can harness new technologies and alternative forms of work. From the perspective of big companies, they point to the increasing importance of being able to break through organizational silos and align resourcing decisions with strategic priorities.

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About the Author

Leah Hoffmann

Leah Hoffmann is a former journalist who has worked for Forbes.com and The Economist. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.

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