Staffing agencies posed to aid in recovery
by Matt Shinall
May 13, 2012 | 1866 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Unemployment remains high and recent employment data shows little growth but small and steady hiring through staffing and recruitment firms continue to put job seekers back to work.

A report from Global Industry Analysts released earlier this month shows a long-term growth projection for the employment services industry benefiting from a global recovery over the next five years.

"World employment services market is projected to reach $354.3 billion by the year 2017. Growth will be primarily influenced by increase in enterprise numbers, GDP trends, rising need for human resources and increasing role of Internet in employment services market," stated a GIA release. "Organizations are being more cautious and selective in their hiring activity and are choosing temporary workers over permanent full-time staff. This trend is being witnessed across major industries particularly for positions that are critical to the daily functioning of the business such as administrative assistants, production or assembly line workers, receptionists, accounting clerks and general labor."

As an alternative hiring source for businesses, staffing agencies place job seekers in temporary positions for seasonal and project work or with the possibility of a permanent hire.

"Several of our existing industries use staffing agencies for either temp-to-permanent or seasonal positions -- like Zep because it is a cyclical business," said Rachel Rowell, existing industries director for Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development. "They tend to work with a particular agency for certain positions. They also use staffing agencies as a cost-saving measure."

With businesses looking to save on human resources expenditures, staffing agencies are able to place a qualified applicant to a specific job when the employer needs extra help. For Steve Edmonds, manager of Ameristaff in Cartersville, economic conditions have taken a toll on business but recent months have shown an improvement in temporary work -- though mainly minimum wage, unskilled labor.

"We've got such a large pool of people that are out of work. We've already got all the processing done -- background checks, drug tests and all of that is already done. So we've already screened them and we've got this pool of people waiting to go to work," Edmonds said. "There for several months we were just running on fumes, we didn't have any jobs, but the last couple of months we've picked up and placed a lot more people in the last couple of months than we have in the last six or eight months."

New to the Cartersville market is Dan McBain, Apollo Staffing branch manager. Although still getting to know the area, McBain has seen slight improvement and voiced his positive impression of area agencies.

"It is picking up some but it's not what it was," McBain said. "There is not the saturation of staffing agencies like there is in Atlanta, but the ones that are here seem to have great reputations."

The Cartersville Goodwill Career Center maintains a working relationship with area staffing agencies often partnering for job fairs and providing resources to job seekers. Numbers provided by Goodwill of North Georgia for their 45-county service area have shown large increases over the past four years since the economic downturn began.

"We have seen an uptick; it seems like the staffing agencies we work with are using different methods to find people. They're turning over many more rocks than they have in the past, and we've teamed up with them to do a lot of job fairs and helping them interview people in our space because we have eight career centers in our area," said Jim Caponigro, vice president of marketing for Goodwill of North Georgia.

Looking at this year's numbers for the organization's fiscal year ending in June, job placements through staffing agencies have doubled since 2008 with a nearly even divide between temporary jobs and those leading to full-time hires.

"We went back and looked at that a little and it seems like the temp-to-hire versus temporary positions has been about 50-50. In 2008, we helped staffing companies hire 400 people and so far this [fiscal] year we're already at 800. So the numbers have doubled but the temp-to-perm versus the full-time positions, at least with us, really hasn't changed," Caponigro said.

The GIA report points to employment services being one of the hardest hit industries during the current economic crisis but suggests it may very well play a role in eventual recovery. Meanwhile, staffing agencies and other members of the employment services sector continue to face a volatile market as employers remain reluctant to hire.