The Eagle Blog

The Staffing Industry in 2006

As I head into the ACSESS conference in Vancouver I ponder the state of our industry. For some years now, as the internet has matured we have heard that “middle-men” are passé and that the role of the agency will be supplanted by technology.

Twenty-five or more years ago I heard many stories of what technology would do for society. We were told that we would see shorter work-weeks, a more productive society, more leisure time and other such predictions. Time has told a different story.

Well here we are, well into the 21st century and the staffing industry is alive and well. Not only that, I believe that we are poised to play a key role in economies around the world. The global economy is creating a burgeoning demand for all manner of services and goods, a shift in the world’s power structure has seen new players emerge as huge consumers of all that can be bought.

The industrial nations are already struggling with their needs for qualified, available labour in addition to the added pressures of understanding their own talent management needs. The concept of a contingent workforce has become accepted not just by great business gurus such as Charles Handy, who talked about such phenomena probably 20 years ago, but also by business leaders.

As I talk to CIOs, CFOs and other CEOs there is a growing acceptance that maybe the rather simple idea that contractors are an expensive solution is neither accurate, nor relevant in today’s economy. The true cost in business today is the time to market! If it take you longer to bring your offering to market then you lose revenues, lose market share and first mover advantage. The benefits of using a workforce capable of hitting the ground running, flexible enough to change shape and form throughout the product or project lifecycle without “employer/employee” issues is highly desirable.

Agencies are poised and able to provide clients with a “virtual workforce” capable of meeting staffing needs that could never be met with solely an “employee based” model. I am excited about our industries prospects and love the idea that staffing companies could become the darlings of the investment world! Gotta run … have to go buy some stocks!


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8 thoughts on “The Staffing Industry in 2006

  1. Kevin – I do most definitely agree that the staffing industry is in a state of flux and that vast changes are coming that will change your industry. I don’t think though that the changes or that ultimately what will force CEO’s to rethink their approach has anything to do with technology. In fact, technology will only open a larger global playing field for you to reach into talent. Your role though will become to assess the skills needed by an organization in order to achieve their goals and then quickly provide a team (yes, a complete team) ready and available to do the work and on that note – I don’t see anyone in the staffing industry stepping up to that challenge.

  2. Kevin – I do most definitely agree that the staffing industry is in a state of flux and that vast changes are coming that will change your industry. I don’t think though that the changes or that ultimately what will force CEO’s to rethink their approach has anything to do with technology. In fact, technology will only open a larger global playing field for you to reach into talent. Your role though will become to assess the skills needed by an organization in order to achieve their goals and then quickly provide a team (yes, a complete team) ready and available to do the work and on that note – I don’t see anyone in the staffing industry stepping up to that challenge.

  3. Are you suggesting that more companies are moving toward the outsourced/consultant/contractor model to develop their products and that this will be a growing trend throughout the upcoming years?

    If this is true, then would it be wise for a traditionally full-time employed individual to take the leap forward into independent work?

  4. Are you suggesting that more companies are moving toward the outsourced/consultant/contractor model to develop their products and that this will be a growing trend throughout the upcoming years?

    If this is true, then would it be wise for a traditionally full-time employed individual to take the leap forward into independent work?

  5. Its nice to see some interest in this subject. I’ll address Allan’s comments first …

    1. I think the staffing industry has come a long way in the last 10 years, and is really not in a “state of flux”. The evolution has been slow and steady and positions the industry well for the challenges of the 21st century.
    2. I agree that part of our role will be to supply complete “teams”, that are managed by our clients. This does happen today in many areas, including but not limited to, the technology space (Eagle’s area of specialization).

    I will write a blog sometime soon to describe the various different parts of the staffing industry that includes companies supplying services in the areas of search, temp and contract.

  6. Its nice to see some interest in this subject. I’ll address Allan’s comments first …

    1. I think the staffing industry has come a long way in the last 10 years, and is really not in a “state of flux”. The evolution has been slow and steady and positions the industry well for the challenges of the 21st century.
    2. I agree that part of our role will be to supply complete “teams”, that are managed by our clients. This does happen today in many areas, including but not limited to, the technology space (Eagle’s area of specialization).

    I will write a blog sometime soon to describe the various different parts of the staffing industry that includes companies supplying services in the areas of search, temp and contract.

  7. Mike … this is a great question! I will also write a blog about the pros and cons of the contracting world. However the short answer to your questions …
    1. Companies will always want, and need, a base of employees. Currently I believe that many companies look at a strategic mix that would see between 5 and 20% of their workforce as “contingent”. My comments are based upon the fact that workforce demographics will mean that finding that base of employees will be harder … so I see the mix changing and companies may well end up with contingent workers making up 50% of their workforce, but not overnight.
    2. Should you become a contractor? Needs a longer answer, but that is a decision that requires you to understand if you have the right entrepreneurial interest to do this. It is absolutely NOT employment by a different name. You need to accept risk and take responsibility for your own destiny. You need to think like a business owner … not an employee.

    More to come … and thanks for the question.

  8. Mike … this is a great question! I will also write a blog about the pros and cons of the contracting world. However the short answer to your questions …
    1. Companies will always want, and need, a base of employees. Currently I believe that many companies look at a strategic mix that would see between 5 and 20% of their workforce as “contingent”. My comments are based upon the fact that workforce demographics will mean that finding that base of employees will be harder … so I see the mix changing and companies may well end up with contingent workers making up 50% of their workforce, but not overnight.
    2. Should you become a contractor? Needs a longer answer, but that is a decision that requires you to understand if you have the right entrepreneurial interest to do this. It is absolutely NOT employment by a different name. You need to accept risk and take responsibility for your own destiny. You need to think like a business owner … not an employee.

    More to come … and thanks for the question.

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