What is the Staffing Industry?

Staffing is a growing industry, full of opportunity and challenge. It has expanded vastly from a narrow sector known for providing “temps” to fill in for sick or vacationing workers. Today, staffing is an all-encompassing industry providing a full range of human resource services to virtually every type of business and employer across the globe.

The Workforce Solutions Ecosystem

Staffing Industry Analysts, a global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions, coined the term “Workforce Solutions Ecosystem” which describes the many facets of the staffing industry. It is comprised of six primary industry segments: Staffing, Process Outsourcing, Payrolling/Compliance, Contracting/Consulting, Talent Acquisition Technology and other Workforce Solutions. The Talent Acquisition Technology segment also includes an important sub-segment – the Human Cloud. The staffing industry is at the core of this Ecosystem.

As the industry has evolved, so has Mee Derby’s reach. We work with companies across the workforce solutions ecosystem and the people who specialize in it. Have questions about hiring in the workforce solutions ecosystem? Give us a call!


Staffing Industry Segments

Temporary Staffing

The largest segment of the industry and the most well-known is temporary staffing, a frequent source of on-demand hiring for both short- and long-term assignments. Staffing Industry Analysts categorizes the following occupational verticals:

  • Office/Clerical
  • Industrial
  • Information Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Finance/Accounting
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Clinical/Scientific
  • Marketing/Creative
  • Education

How it Works

Temporary staffing firms recruit, screen, often train and assign their employees to work at client companies on an as-needed basis. The staffing firm retains its position as employer of record and is responsible for paying the temporary employees, handling any tax, insurance and benefit requirements. Clients are charged an hourly rate for each employee.

For larger employers, staffing firms may provide an on-site manager to manage the large temporary workforce at the customer’s facility. This is referred to as vendor-on-premise (VOP). Some of these larger companies will also work with a managed service provider (MSP) that will take responsibility for managing the company’s contingent staffing buy and relationship with a variety of staffing vendors; they may manage this process through managed service agreements, which also provide performance metrics and measurements.

Temp-to-hire staffing provides a means for employers to try an employee on-site to assess their skills and fit before committing to a full-time hire.

Executive Search

This is a smaller segment of the staffing sector, but one with significant impact. Executive search firms find full-time employees for their clients, and take responsibility for sourcing, recruiting, screening, interviewing and matching potential candidates for a client company’s full-time job openings.

Search options

  • Retained Search. Client company pays a predetermined fee for the search firm to identify and interview for executive-level positions. This model requires significant consulting time and resources to identify the right candidates. This exclusive search fee is typically paid in thirds: at signing of the contract, upon submission of a short list of candidates and when candidate is hired.
  • Engaged Search. A search is conducted  to find qualified candidates to fill open jobs and charges a portion of the placement fee as a retainer. The balance is due once the hire is made. Engaged searches are best for higher-level positions or particularly hard-to-fill jobs that require more in-depth research and considerable resources.
  • Contingent Search. Search firm is only paid upon the successful hiring of a candidate. This “pay for performance” model provides access to top talent, but no fee until the hire is made.

Fees are typically a percentage of the candidate’s salary, although the fee schedule for retained search can be structured in a variety of ways to accommodate the client.


The Outlook: Continued growth

The overall U.S. staffing market includes workforce solutions and executive search. 2016 revenues reached $136.8 billion in overall staffing spend, representing a 3% growth over 2015. The temporary staffing sector, excluding executive search, represented $118B and employed over 14.5 million people with over 2% penetration of the overall U.S. workforce employed by a staffing company.

2017 is projected to achieve $141 billion in revenue for the overall staffing market, and $122.6 billion in temporary staffing representing another 3% growth.

2018 is projected to reach $146 billion in total U.S. staffing market revenue, with $126.8B in staffing, an additional 4% in growth.

Globally, Staffing Industry Analysts projects the overall staffing market in 2017 to be $441 billion, with Japan, the U.S. and the UK leading the way.

Source: “US Staffing Industry Forecast,” April 11, 2017 via SIA[MU1]


Are you interested in joining the staffing industry?

Are you looking to transition into the staffing industry? If so, here are some resources to help you. Mee Derby only places professionals with staffing industry experience, but there are other companies who will consider those without staffing industry experience.

Here is a list of companies that offer internship programs or management training programs. You can contact them directly for more information.


Choose Staffing as a Career and Love What You Do