Staffing firms: moving forward from crisis

By: Tim Robbins, Monster Vice President and General Manager, Staffing and Recruiting

I don’t think anyone could have predicted where we’d be as a country—or as a staffing industry—just a few months ago. We went from unemployment rates as low as 3.8% to job losses exceeding 10 million. Although it’s too soon to know what the real long-term impact of COVID-19 will be, there are some clear signs of change that I’m seeing on the landscape. Here are just some of my thoughts on the staffing industry outlook:

One of the most dramatic examples of the pandemic’s impact has been on permanent placement. Permanent placement has long been a major segment of staffing firms, but has seen steep declines with the onset of COVID-19. There is some good news here, though. In recent weeks, we’ve begun to see recovery, especially in the higher skilled segments.

As expected, some staffing companies saw declines in job orders and had to make the painful decision to reduce staff. Monster is stepping in to help these reduced size staffing teams operate efficiently when new orders start coming in. At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, we worked closely with some staffing firms  to help triage at that very critical time. We’re thrilled to hear customers sharing early signs of recovery, with some segments rebounding faster than others.

The healthcare surprise

As surprising as it sounds, there were some areas of healthcare that experienced layoffs. For example: elective surgeries stopped during the pandemic, and furloughs and layoffs ensued. Now, however, elective surgeries are beginning again, and we can expect to see an uptick in hiring for the positions that support these medical procedures. Staffing organizations were expected to find this talent—and quickly. To help these healthcare sectors ramp up hiring as regions re-open, video interviewing, texting, and social media will figure prominently in recruiting strategies now and going forward.

Not so surprisingly, there is a nursing shortage and it’s particularly prevalent in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. But what’s noteworthy about this is that state-contracted staffing agencies responding to the COVID-19 surge are luring nurses from hospitals with wages that are almost four times higher than what they’d normally be paid. It would be interesting to see if other areas of Texas, or even other states, follow suit.

Increased activity in some areas

There are pockets of business – like tech and certain areas of healthcare – that have been less impacted by COVID. For instance, there continues to be a critical shortage of nurses, senior resident care workers, and nursing assistants, which may continue through the end of the year. This is another area where we’ve been able to help our staffing partners, and we’ve formed partnerships with agencies and vendors to deliver solutions addressing these high-volume hiring needs.

Mental health care hiring

Mental health issues have been an unfortunate effect of the pandemic, and we’ve seen a corresponding increase in demand for mental health care workers as a result. Monster data bear this out as we see more and more job postings for psychologists, therapists, social workers, and other professionals in the field, and an increase in candidates searching for these jobs.

Upskilling and retraining

We can expect to see more companies retraining talent for jobs that didn’t exist prior to the pandemic. Temperature taker and contact tracer are two of the top-most searched job titles, yet most of us have never heard of these positions. Monster solutions – like SearchMonster – enable staffing companies to match candidate skills to jobs that didn’t exist prior to COVID.

New opportunities

As previously mentioned, hiring in some areas has been less impacted by COVID and in some instances we’re actually seeing new opportunities come to light. Let’s take technology for example. In addition to enabling virtual recruitment through virtual open houses and job fairs, video, and more, it’s giving many people who previously couldn’t work from home (e.g. therapist), the opportunity to work remotely.

The pandemic has also pushed staffing companies to become more creative when filling their candidate pipelines. Whether it’s reaching out to unemployment offices to engage the newly unemployed, or filling jobs quickly by fast-tracking background checks, new ways of recruiting continue to present themselves.

Monster as the bridge

Now, more than ever, I see the future of Monster as the bridge between staffing firms and candidates. Staffing firms are upskilling people into new jobs – like tech and healthcare – and Monster is helping them reach and connect to that talent. Monster brings recruiters and candidates together by finding the right fit for both. Through our solutions and services, recruiters get a broad view of the person behind the resume and can make an accurate assessment of their match potential. And candidates get an inside look at the job, culture, and company, and can determine if their experience and goals are in sync.

It’s our belief that the world would be a much happier place if there was a better fit between people and their jobs, and we’re committed to making that happen…in these uncertain times and beyond. Check out Monster’s staffing solutions, where you can explore our offerings and connect with a rep.