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SIA Gig-E Takeaways: New Opportunities in the Staffing Industry

What does your staffing firm need to be successful in the rapidly changing landscape of the recruiting industry? That was the focus of this year’s SIA Gig-E conference, in which top industry leaders came together to define new barriers that are keeping recruiters from becoming truly successful and the solutions that can unlock their full potential.  

Read on to learn more about the evolving challenges and fresh solutions from the perspective of the industry’s leading analysts.  

2022 Was the Second Biggest Year for Investment in HR Tech

The problem so many businesses face is the tedious and time-consuming human resources tasks of managing their workforce. The industry sees the solution in HR Tech, a sector that is growing like never before. 

2022 is on track to become the second biggest year in funding for HR Tech. This year alone, there are currently 72 unicorns (companies worth more than a billion dollars) in the HR Tech ecosystem, totaling over $196B in value. 

That alone is impressive. But, perhaps the bigger story here—one that truly defines how dominant HR Tech is becoming in our industry—is that more than half of those companies achieved their unicorn status in the past year alone. 

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What does the rise of HR Tech mean for the staffing industry? Staffing agencies will be better equipped to avoid problems in the hiring process and provide value for their clients. Businesses from employers of record to staffing agencies are racing to adopt the latest human resources information systems—not just to save time and integrate nearly every step of the hiring process—but to provide job seekers and recruiters with fast mobile technology to give them the edge in finding the right talent or the right job. 

Recruiters Aren’t Going to be Replaced 

Often, the first conclusion recruiters jump to when they learn the expansive capabilities of marketing automation for staffing is that their job is on the chopping block. They would have been reassured by many of the discussions and breakout sessions at Gig-E. 

While automation is a critical recruiting tool that can easily do the busywork of several recruiters, people are the irreplaceable heart of the technology. Recruiters will always be essential for the bulk of non-automatable tasks. They are the people focused on relationship building, white-glove service, and unparalleled experiences for their candidates, which technology can nor will never fully replace.   

Consider the inimitable intuition of pairing unique candidates with the right employer or the ability to “sell” candidates on their clients’ benefits or workplace culture. Recruiters can rest assured they will always be in high demand.   

The Staffing Industry Needs to do Better with Gen Z  

By 2025, Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce. The future of staffing agencies and the success of the industry depends largely on an ability to engage and activate Gen Z job seekers. In a recent study, out of over a thousand Gen Z candidates surveyed:  

  • Only 25% understood what staffing agencies actually do 
  • Half of Gen Z candidates are willing to work with staffing companies, despite that lack of full understanding 
  • 85% of Gen Z candidates believe the process of search/placement is outdated 
  • 3/4 of respondents abandoned a job process midway, citing poor recruiter communication 
  • Most candidates want contact/communication once a week (an average of 1,000 points of contact per recruiter per week!) 

 In more heartening news, when better informed of the unique service recruiters provide, 95% of respondents believe recruiters can help them find a better job. If we can start to bridge the knowledge and communication gaps, imagine how successful staffing firms can be, even in a candidate-short market! 

Markets Shifting Towards Increased Flexibility 

While recruiters have very little (if any) influence over the amount of flexibility their clients are willing to offer, in many cases, they do have their clients’ ears. 

Recruiters are in a special position to present their clients with an honest assessment of a job market in which, over the past couple of years, 24% of workers have switched to nontraditional work. The workforce is citing flexibility as the top reason for the shift. 

If your clients want to hire wherever possible, they need to allow more flexibility in, where, and when their employees can work. Sometimes that means cutting to the chase and having clear discussions on the realities of the market.  

Projected Slower Growth in the Labor Force 

In the next decade, the workforce is projected to grow at a much slower rate.  There are several top factors that are causing the workforce to fall short of the market’s needs, including: 

  • An increasingly older workforce with a higher rate of retirement 
  • Immigration policies continue to hamper adding new workers to the workforce
  • Young workers are only expected to grow the labor force by 6% 

This means the talent shortage that has been plaguing the staffing industry is rapidly escalating into a labor crisis. For the foreseeable future, talent is increasingly in the driver’s seat. But there’s good news. Organizations that are able to adapt to this shift and meet the needs of the current and emerging workforce are in the driver’s seat as well. It may sound like jargon right now, but the candidate experience has truly never been more critical or consequential to success.  

Avoid Amplifying Outdated Processes 

Speeding up outdated processes is not the solution. It just compounds the problem. As Kathy Gans, the VP of sales from JoinedUp by beeline, noted in her speed pitch, “A single app is not the solution because the problem goes so much deeper than speed and communication.” 

Kathy’s speed pitch was notable because it spoke to so much of what we heard and discussed at SIA. Real-time visibility, she argued, is a key component that many are not taking into consideration. Increased transparency can help staffing agencies avoid the element of surprise that is so frustrating (and potentially costly) and improve both time-to-fill, overall fill rates, and free up 15 hours per week of a recruiter’s time. 

Imagine what your team could do with an extra fifteen hours per week! How can your team make your recruiting process more transparent? 

Being Early to Transformation Adoption is Critical  

We’ve heard it stated far too often that, “The digital transformation has come and gone. If you’re not already on board, that ship has sailed.” We’re here to say that is absolutely not the case. The digital transformation is not a linear, black-and-white subject. While the staffing industry may collectively be earlier on in its digital maturity, the ownness is on each of us as leaders in our industry to champion the strategies and technologies required to deliver the experiences our clients and candidates are demanding. The global workforce has changed, and it’s up to us to meet the moment 

What Ties Together the Top Discoveries of SIA’s Gig-E Conference?  

Of the diverse solutions and topics discovered at this year’s SIA conference, one common element tied them all together: digital transformation. Whether you’re 10% of the way there, 60% of the way there, or anywhere else on the spectrum, Parqa exists to get you there faster, with less risk, and stronger returns. We can help your firm strategize, execute and optimize to drive real business results.  

If you’ve got big transformation and overall business growth goals for 2023, we’d love to help accelerate them. Reach out to start a conversation! 

Ready to Accelerate Your Digital Transformation?

Put your learnings from SIA Gig-E into practice.

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