Excerpt from Staffing Industry Review: Jan/Feb 2015, featuring comments from Ingram Losner. Click to view full article here: http://bit.ly/1zAL0Hh.
Not yet summer, but some markets, trends are already sizzling
The staffing industry left 2014 with a strong tailwind. An improving economy bolstered growth, and temporary help services jobs set record highs as a percent of total US employment.
But what trends will affect staffing in 2015?
Forecasts call for solid growth in two of the industry’s largest segments: IT and industrial. Experts say drivers include ecommerce, the skills gap and lingering buyer uncertainty. Statement- of-work contracts are also gaining popularity, and some see requests for greater accountability from staffing firms.
It’s not all fair weather. Compliance is more critical, wage-and-hour lawsuits more common. New laws mandate paid sick leave, minimum wage increases and more.
To gauge a few trends going into 2015, we interviewed staffing executives and checked the latest research.
IT Is Still Sunny
IT staffing also looks relatively sunny. Staffing Industry Analysts forecasts US information technology temporary staffing revenue will increase 7% in 2015, the sixth consecutive year of growth.
“The market has been anywhere between good and great for about the last two to three years,” says Ingram Losner, co-founder of IT staffing firm PROVEN.
Tech suffered along with everyone else in the downturn, but the segment has a tremendous ability to reinvent itself and bounced back faster than old economy industries, Losner says.
From a micro perspective, companies have been upgrading architecture once left to sit because of cost cutting. In addition, they are looking at next phases of technology — including ecommerce and the interrelationship between technology and social media. “Social media vehicles have clearly driven the latest wave of development,” Losner says.
Mobile technology is also growing.
“The other trends are cloud technology, analytics, big data, the inter-relationship between technology and marketing, all of the tools that go into those particular areas,” Losner says.
Ranjini Poddar, president of IT staffing provider Artech Information Systems LLC, also says companies that held back on committing to IT projects are moving forward again.
“Now there is some positive outlook as far as the economy is concerned,” Poddar says. However, hesitation is still evident in some areas as memory of the downturn remains, she adds.
One concern: the ongoing skills shortage, or mismatch between skills employers need and skills workers have.
“The supply shortage is still there and expected to increase, especially for very much in demand skills,” Poddar says.
H-1B visas used to bring in highly skilled individuals such as technology workers are capped at 85,000. Legislation has been introduced to raise the cap, but it remains in place for now. President Obama also announced changes to immigration, but it’s uncertain whether those will help.
“I think as far as the steps the president is proposing, it’s difficult to tell how it’s going to play out until we actually see what is implemented,” Poddar says.
The ACA might encourage more IT professionals to take temporary positions because they will have healthcare, but its impact in this area is also uncertain, she says.
PROVEN’s Losner says things will only get more challenging as far as the skills mismatch is concerned.
“There’s just not enough kids with the appropriate disciplines coming out of schools to satisfy the growing and exceptional demand for these critical, technology-centric skill sets,” he says. “And this, of course, is being further exacerbated by the political gridlock in relation to the limits on H-1Bs and with the baby boomer generation retiring.”