But before you start taking contract staffing job orders, you have an important decision to make: are you going to run your own back-office, which entails becoming the employer of your contractors and handling all the employment tasks, or are you going to outsource that responsibility to a contract staffing back-office?
A year and some months after acquiring the popular MaxHire and Sendouts, Bullhorn is releasing its overhauled ATS, incorporating some of their best features while fixing one of the biggest complaints with its own SaaS system. Bullhorn now runs on MACs, as well as on PCs and mobile devices.
The new S Release announced today is not an integration of its late 2012 acquisitions of the two software providers. Their systems will continue to be offered and supported. But Andrew Hally, Bullhorn’s VP of of product and marketing, expects that when MaxHire and Sendouts users see what S Release can do, they’ll switch.
The two most significant changes — besides fixing the Mac compatibility problem of prior Bullhorn ATS versions — are speed of performance and ease of use. The system is now so fast that the announcement of its release says it is three times faster than any prior version.
Staffing firms added jobs at an average of 16,875 a month last year, the fastest pace since 2010, a turnaround year from the recession that began in 2007. Temp growth was slower in January, with 8,100 new jobs. However, too much shouldn’t read into the month, as January’s temp hiring is rarely useful to predict the rest of the year.
Even with the rapid growth in the use of temp labor, bill rates during the year were largely flat, according to a report from IQNavigator. The firm’s U.S. IQNdex 2013 Retrospective report said rates increased less than 1% during the year.
One of the most common questions we hear from recruiters is, “How do I know what to bill a company when they want a contractor?” And we’ve heard this question a lot during the past couple of months from direct hire recruiters who are working on their first contract job order.
The best strategy is to first ask the company to provide a range of hourly bill rates when you are taking the contract job order. The logic behind this strategy ties directly to the experience, education, skill set and availability of the candidate/contractor. The largest single component of the bill rate is how much you are going to have to pay the contractor on an hourly basis. Once you work through the process and have come up with the proposed bill rate to offer the company, you will know you are in the ballpark if you have the range.
Faced with a growing need for doctors and a shrinking pool from which to hire, hospitals, medical groups and other healthcare providers are turning in record numbers to nurse practitioners and physician assistants on a temporary basis to fill the gap.
Staff Care, part of AMN Healthcare, the nation’s largest healthcare staffing firm, said its requests for temporary physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) soared last year, going from under 2% of its requests in 2010 to 10% last year.
“When hospitals and medical groups and others start using temporary providers in greater numbers, it generally means they can’t find enough practitioners in those areas,” Staff Care spokesman Phil Miller told the Dallas Business Journal.
Securing direct hire job orders isn’t what it used to be. Before the recession, they were everywhere, and the biggest problem was finding the right candidates. Now, even as the economy recovers, direct hire job orders have still not returned to pre-recession levels.
Meanwhile, contract staffing seems to be leading the recovery as more companies seek workforce flexibility. Consider the following statistics:
- The temporary help services industry accounted for 91% of job growth between June 2009 and June 2011;
- 58% of employers plan to add more contract workers in the next five years.
So if you are reluctant to try contract staffing because you are afraid you won’t be able to get job orders, don’t be. Contract job orders are out there. You just have to know where to look, who to ask, and what to ask.
Where to Look
Let’s begin with the where. Below are the most common places recruiters find contract job orders:
Staffing agencies placed 13,600 more workers in October, growing the overall temp industry to 2.54 million. That’s a 7.7% increase over the last 12 months, and the new hires accounted for 8% of the total jobs created during the month, according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, in the BLS report issued Friday, September’s numbers were adjusted down from the previous month’s report by 7,100. That essentially makes it a wash for job gains in the temp sector over the last three months.
The broader employment services category, which includes the temp industry, registered a gain in October of 15,800 workers. The 2,200 non-temp jobs came from hiring by professional employment organizations, search firms, registries, and employment placement agencies. Specific data for these sectors isn’t available until a month after the initial report is issued.
An IT recruiting watchdog group says some staffing companies are abusing the U.S. visa program, advertising jobs that may not even exist, and limiting applicants to non-citizens.
“The public is led to believe that companies can’t find Americans to fill high-tech jobs when, in fact, they are not searching for Americans — as these ads show,” said Donna Conroy, a founder of Bright Future Jobs and author of “No Americans Need Apply.”
Her report details an analysis of 100 IT ads, posted on tech job board Dice.com, which all include language referencing various visa programs, and which, Conroy said in an interview, are phrased as “code for foreign workers only.”
The Bright Future Jobs analysis of the ads found 37 percent of them made no mention of IT job terms or skills in the ad title. Instead, they contained only references to visa types, says Conroy’s report. “These 37 ads also repeated these USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) terms in the skills section,” says the report.
Last week, MRINetwork released a statement discussing the momentum that contract staffing has been gaining lately:
The contingent employment industry is traditionally a leading indicator of post-recession economic conditions and a reliable predictor of future employment trends. Cautious employers hire temps first, hedging their bets on the recovery, recognizing it is easier to scale back if demand doesn’t materialize. This cycle is no different, say the contract staffing experts at MRINetwork, except this time employers plan to maintain a larger portion of their workforce as contract employees even once business recovers.
This is something that we, and many of you, have made note of in the last several months. Tim Ozier, director of contract staffing at MRINetwork, states, “During the recession, employers learned to refocus on their core business, realizing that a smaller core workforce that was well trained and technologically astute was more effective and nimble than their pre-recession staff. As firms emerge from the recession they are, of course, beginning to hire full time workers but they are also seeing a larger role for highly skilled contract workers who are engaged on an as-needed basis.”
Good business owners observe market trends and learn to adapt their business to meet the needs of their customers. But do you think this is a staying trend, or simply a typical gun-shy reaction to the supposed end of a recession?