What's next for staffing in the UK and U.S?

Dec 21, 2021

Even before the events of this year, changing technologies and new ways of working were drastically altering the staffing sector. The pandemic, with its increased digitization and hybrid work shift, has merely accelerated this. Those changes will keep coming, as the world continues to understand its new reality in the face of Covid-19, automation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and more.

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So, the next year for staffing in the UK and U.S will be an exciting one. With many significant shifts that staffing leaders would do well to understand sooner, rather than later. With that in mind, here are our top predictions of what’s next in UK and U.S staffing.  

Tackling the Great Resignation

You cannot talk about staffing without addressing the Great Resignation. Organizations are experiencing a record-high number of resignations. There are many reasons behind this, not least because a drastic, life-threatening pandemic encourages everyone to take a look at what’s working (and not) in their lives. Specifically, however, people are leaving their organizations because of a lack of clear career progression (24% of respondents cited this for leaving), better pay and benefits (23%), and because the pandemic has caused them to re-evaluate their priorities (30%). Baby boomers are also retiring at higher rates than before (3.2 million more boomers retired in Q3 of 2020 than the same period in 2019).  

For staffing leaders, the employee-employer relationship has fundamentally altered. People are no longer happy to settle for an employer who isn’t invested in their long-term career growth, who doesn’t reward them with ample pay and benefits, and who doesn’t value their work/life balance. It’s also worth noting that staffing leaders will increasingly be called upon to plug the knowledge and skills drain occurring due to baby boomers leaving the workforce.  

This attrition will not end anytime soon. Indeed, as the uncertainty and fear surrounding the pandemic continue, attrition will likely continue on an upwards trajectory for any organization that fails to put its people first in 2022.  

Revamping the candidate experience

This takes us nicely onto the next point, workers want new and different experiences. Remote work offers them greater autonomy and flexibility, and 90% want this to continue long after the pandemic passes. The shift to hybrid work has changed the employee experience into the total experience (TX). Organizations no longer communicate with their employees in-person and on-site, the same applies to consumers who are increasingly interacting with businesses on digital channels. TX reflects this, seeking to create superior shared experiences between employees, contractors, customers, partners, and other stakeholders. As you consider your tech stack over the coming year, pay heed to this growing business trend.

Diversity and inclusion remain high on the agenda

Over the past year, a major spotlight was shone on inequality and inequity. In response, staffing firms took steps to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I). These efforts will continue, particularly as more workers voice concerns that a solely remote-work setup in the future will harm their job prospects. Over half (57%) are worried that they’ll miss out on career and learning opportunities if they solely work remotely - a work style that particularly suits working parents, carers, and those with disabilities.

So how can staffing leaders ensure they are making inclusive decisions when placing candidates? There are many processes, questions, and solutions to employ. Blind hiring is one such tactic, as is automated candidate screening. A skills-based approach also reduces bias.  

Skills-based talent decisions

Many staffing agencies have expanded their considerations beyond formal qualifications to look at all the skills a candidate brings to an organization. Taking a skills-based approach when sourcing and hiring candidates is ideal for today’s fast-paced, agile, and distributed workplace.  

Firstly, work is becoming project and task-based, and the simplest way to find someone to complete a task is to match them to it based on their existing skills. This enables staffing leaders to take advantage of everyone available to the organization - permanent employees and contingent workers alike. Secondly, with more people working remotely, offering opportunities based on their skills ensures they don’t miss out on anything by not physically being in the workplace. Third, it ensures unconscious bias doesn’t influence talent decisions as candidates are sourced and recommended solely on their skills and experience. Lastly, staffing firms need to place the best candidates into roles quickly in order to keep up with demand. A platform (like Globus Staffing) that uses a skills-based approach provides a rapid way for recruiters to achieve this, with minimal manual effort.  

Building an on-demand talent pool

Over half of businesses in October 2021 had job openings that they couldn’t find candidates to fill. The Great Resignation is causing talent and skills to drain like never before. Staffing leaders, therefore, are looking wider afield to find the right talent. Hybrid work means workers are no longer geographically limited.  

Increasingly, organizations are considering alternatives to permanent talent by looking at ‘borrowing’ and sharing with other companies. Almost two-thirds (60%) of organizations would consider this approach. The gig economy is also expanding in number and remit. Approximately 162 million people in the U.S. and Europe are now part of the gig workforce (making up 20 to 30% of the total workforce). More traditionally office-based roles are now becoming part of the gig economy leading to more staffing options for organizations looking to quickly source talent and plug skill gaps.  

Using technology intelligently

Underpinning many of these trends is technology. Picking the right technology solution, therefore, is a critical decision for all staffing leaders. The staffing sector is undergoing a drastic technology transformation with automated matching, admin support, pre-screening, and resume parsing all boosting efficiency and saving time. One in four UK staffing firms now use a third-party staffing platform and this figure will only grow as more firms advance in their digital transformation.  

For those who haven’t already started, spending the next weeks exploring the different staffing technology options will help you understand what’s out there and best suited to your firm.  

A final note

Many advances are on the horizon for UK and U.S staffing firms. Not all of them will impact your firm in the same way or to the same extent. However, it’s worth understanding everything that’s happening in the sector so you can make informed decisions about your candidate sourcing and management and advise your customers effectively.  

If you’d like to discuss any of the trends we’ve mentioned, your 2022 staffing strategy, or how Globus Staffing can improve your team’s effectiveness, get in touch with us.

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