Assessing the Growing Threats to Traditional Staffing

money trailGary Petrie Visual Imaging contributed to this post.

There has been a steady flow of articles and studies describing a variety of developments threatening to “disrupt” traditional businesses, the workforce, jobs, talent acquisition – and the staffing industry. The following infographic is designed highlight the most significant of these threats to help you ACCESS their individual and combined potential impact on your company.  We’ve also added some suggested ACTION STEPS for converting these challenges into opportunities for increasing customer/candidate satisfaction and future profitability.


PowerPoint Presentation


Bridging the Skill-Gap represents the greatest challenge and opportunity. No one needs to be told that this is the greatest present and near-term challenge for clients and staffing providers. When you add the ongoing modification of 60% of existing Jobs (and resulting need for new human/computer augmentation skills) this challenge will get worse, even as the number of unemployed and unemployable increases.

At the same time, this chronic need offers a golden opportunity for those who can work with clients/educators/associations to broaden their services to include effective training/apprenticeship programs needed to bridge the gap. This will become increasingly critical to success in many industrial segments as position activities change and skill requirements go up for a diminishing number of openings.

Caution re Gig/Sharing Economy. Although it is clear that the gig/sharing model has been disruptive in a number of fields, the number of recent failures in VC backed startups has made it clear that the model is not sustainable in all markets. Steven Hills makes the same point in a March 27, 2016, post in Salon. Namely that quality and reliable performance of any task demands skill and dedication. While this approach to workforce dis-intermediation has had a dramatic impact on service cost and margins, we’ll have to reserve judgment until it has demonstrated sustained performance and worker satisfaction.

Process Outsourcing, Technology, and On-line Platforms. We believe it is likely that increasing cost pressures will accelerate the adoption of process outsourcing platforms and technology in the coming years. Outsourcing services offering cloud and on-line platforms are also making it affordable for smaller companies. This trend is causing some independents to develop/acquire, or partner to gain these capabilities in order to compete.

Having said that, it is also true that many users of these services are dissatisfied with their vendors in terms of flexibility, quality of service and talent. This combined with the growing skills gap and increasing worker demands, has created another significant opportunity to gain competitive advantage. Those firms who can effectively utilize technology to combine interesting assignments with quality candidates and training will be the clear winners.

Big Data/AI/Robotics. There is no question that rapid advances in these areas are having a big impact on jobs, the workforce and the staffing industry. Many of us who have heard the “sky-is-falling” in the past concerning the impact of technology may be at risk of assuming that AI/robotics, etc. will follow a similar gradual timeline. We believe the rapid advance of this new wave of applied technology, combined unrelenting international cost pressures – and lack of skilled workers is driving a much quicker adoption rate by employers. To remain viable industry providers need to anticipate the changing needs of employers and employees – and become experts in using these new tools to improve our own performance and profitability.


The combination of all of these developments will make the next 10+ years extremely challenging – while also offering those who can innovate AND maintain quality with the significant opportunities for gaining competitive edge. But one aspect of the service offered by the Staffing Industry will remain unchanged. That will be the absolute need to consistently match highly skilled and competent professionals with equally competent and ethical employers. Years running companies in a verity of industries has taught me that the key to success is always good people. Even my most optimistic tech friends are the first to get upset with sloppy and unprofessional service without a very human touch.

Please take a moment to share your view of these challenges by taking this short SURVEY.

Wil Beach

Wil Beach
Wil Beach is managing director, HRO at De Bellas & Co. He can be reached at wbeach (at) debellas (dot) com.

Wil Beach

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