The Eagle Blog

The Greatest Canadian Staffing Industry Challenge

Like all businesses, those in the staffing industry are faced with many challenges on a daily basis. How do we compete in a global market? How do we continue to bring value to our clients with shrinking margins? How do I demonstrate to my client that I am worth every penny that I make? How do I continue to find great candidates despite the skills shortages? How do I combat the “bottom feeder” who comes along with nothing to lose as new kid on the block and promises the earth … knowing full well that they can’t deliver!

Hey … those are just the day to day challenges facing every staffing industry executive. The unscrupulous operators cause us all issues with our clients, with candidates and worst of all with the regulators and that is where our biggest challenge is!

The BIG challenge to our industry comes from prospective legislative changes. We have seen changes in the UK and in the US that have been very unfavourable to our industry and that in turns hurts our clients.

Companies NEED the ability to have a flexible workforce. They need the ability to be able to ramp up AND down quickly depending upon market conditions, peaks in demand and regularly shifting economic cycles. Our industry brings that kind of strategic value to Canadian business.

The biggest problem for our industry is staying on top of the many levels of government with a volunteer based organization that relies very heavily on too few people. There are way too many companies in our industry that get a free ride … the worst ones are not even members of the association and shame on them, then there are those that pay their dues and contribute nothing else to the cause. Thanks for the dues, it helps … but if you want this industry to flourish and bring value into the future you need to get involved.

In the not too distant past we have been able to work with governments and affect legislation that would have severely damaged our industry if not decimated it. Near and dear to my heart was the issue of Retail Sales Tax on IT contractors in Ontario. Also near and dear has been the ongoing battle with Workers Comp in Ontario with regard to independent contractors (it is worth noting that our safety programs in conjunction with workers comp have been a huge success). We have battled the Bernier Report in Quebec and the ongoing rush by some politicians to change the status of temporary workers. In Ontario where 60% of all Canadian staffing happens we have very recently seen an increase in bad press driven by action groups who are determined to undermine our industry. A City TV show just last week titled Ontario’s Hidden Slave Market was a one-sided attack on the temporary help industry.

Our industry is constantly under threat … and we need the good companies to get involved. The time for sitting back and letting other people do it for you is passed. Are YOU up for the challenge?


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4 thoughts on “The Greatest Canadian Staffing Industry Challenge

  1. Where can I learn more about these BIG issues? I am quite happy with my status as a Contractor, and I get nervous about any news about regulations that may affect my status.

    Of course, my views and concerns do not necessarily coincide with those of the staffing industry. But, we are in a symbiotic* relationship, so what affects one of us generally affects the other.

    * Many of my colleagues would use the word ‘parasitic’ rather than ‘symbiotic’, but they’re being unfair. No one likes sharing their earnings with a 3rd party, but I see it as the cost of doing business. I do reserve the right to minimize that cost however, by negotiating the best possible deal for myself. 🙂

  2. Where can I learn more about these BIG issues? I am quite happy with my status as a Contractor, and I get nervous about any news about regulations that may affect my status.

    Of course, my views and concerns do not necessarily coincide with those of the staffing industry. But, we are in a symbiotic* relationship, so what affects one of us generally affects the other.

    * Many of my colleagues would use the word ‘parasitic’ rather than ‘symbiotic’, but they’re being unfair. No one likes sharing their earnings with a 3rd party, but I see it as the cost of doing business. I do reserve the right to minimize that cost however, by negotiating the best possible deal for myself. 🙂

  3. Detailed information about the “Big Issues” is available from the staffing industry association, but is restricted to its members. There is however very relevant information at their website which would likely give enough level of detail for an appreciation of the issues.

    (ACSESS website: http://www.acsess.org/GOVERNMENT/default.asp)

    I would like to think that our industry’s relationship with the contractor community is better than “parasitic” these days. I do however recognize that for many contractors the “necessary evil” label applies. Informed clients do not want a direct relationship with independents for both (a) cost and (b) risk reasons. So in many cases the only access to those jobs is through agencies. I would like to think that agencies today are more progressive in fostering a positive relationship with contractors, providing competitive market rates and generally bring some additional value … beyond access to the job. Not always the case, but hopefully we are “getting there”
    Thanks for your comments.

  4. Detailed information about the “Big Issues” is available from the staffing industry association, but is restricted to its members. There is however very relevant information at their website which would likely give enough level of detail for an appreciation of the issues.

    (ACSESS website: http://www.acsess.org/GOVERNMENT/default.asp)

    I would like to think that our industry’s relationship with the contractor community is better than “parasitic” these days. I do however recognize that for many contractors the “necessary evil” label applies. Informed clients do not want a direct relationship with independents for both (a) cost and (b) risk reasons. So in many cases the only access to those jobs is through agencies. I would like to think that agencies today are more progressive in fostering a positive relationship with contractors, providing competitive market rates and generally bring some additional value … beyond access to the job. Not always the case, but hopefully we are “getting there”
    Thanks for your comments.

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