Ten High Impact Staffing Trends – 2016!

Ten High Impact Staffing Trends – 2016!

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 11, 2016


2016 staffing challengesA Seattle Staffing Agency Point of View


January 4 launched a new business year.  Chances are if you are a Hiring Manager, HR Professional or Recruiter working in the Greater Seattle marketplace, you’re already dealing with the changes in staffing trends and challenges that will be most impactful in 2016.

Check out this “week in the life” …

  • You get a call from Roger in Production.  Apparently Jake, the young man with perfect skills and experience you hired 3 months ago, gave notice and will be leaving Friday.  Apparently Jake’s last employer is offering him a generous pay increase to return to his old job.
  • George from accounting was in your office an hour ago wondering about candidates for his accounts payable opening.  It’s been 2 weeks since you’ve talked, and George isn’t shy – “When I hired for this position last year, you had plenty of candidates.  What’s going on in HR these days anyway?”
  • Yesterday you learned that the six “temp to hire” candidates you’re seeking for jobs in the call center won’t be in place in time for next week’s training class.  Apparently  your temp agency can’t come up with enough qualified people to fill the class at the pay rates being offered.  You’re also hearing that the new onboarding process is taking more time than anyone anticipated.  Unfortunately, your call center manager could care less about the “marketplace” or “compliance” – she needs people NOW!
  • And then there’s Colleen who came in on Monday to let you know she will be leaving her job at the end of the month.  “I simply can’t work for Rhonda any more.”   You think back to when Colleen first approached you about her last performance review and concerns that she and the other “twenty somethings” were not being treated fairly by their “older and more demanding” boss.  Apparently, your ideas to resolve that issue weren’t that helpful.

Sound familiar? You are not alone.   These are the scenarios already impacting how employers find, hire, and retain employees.  Most of these examples represent bigger picture staffing trends that will impact us daily.  None are going away soon!

Here’s our list of the TEN MOST IMPORTANT STAFFING TRENDS Seattle area employers will face in 2016.

Staffing Trend 1 – Great employees will continue to be in short supply.

And those shortages will apply to employees you want to hire directly and employees you need for temporary or contract work assignments.  We’re reading that over the next several years, US businesses will need several million more employees than they will be able to find and hire.  From our perch, the lengthy recovery after the 2007-08 recession  simply masked already existing and serious issues in employee availability that have been in play for some time.  As more employers fire up their hiring engines in 2016,  across the board candidate shortages will become one of Seattle’s most pressing staffing challenges.

Staffing Trend 2 – A “Candidate Driven” marketplace will change how employer’s hire.     

The good and bad news for Seattle area employers is that we are in the top 5 areas driving job creation in the US.  And when employees have choices on where to work, their behavior as job seekers changes.  Brace yourself….

  • The time it takes to find and hire new employees – even temporary and contract workers – will increase.  For some jobs, the time it takes to find the right employees in 2016 will double what it took in 2013.
  • The hiring process will get even more choppy.  Candidate interviews will get cancelled at the last minute; candidates won’t return calls, or will disappear half way thru your selection process.  You will make offers to candidates who will turn you down, not always telling you why.   Temporary employees will jump ship to take permanent jobs, or assignments that pay better.
  • Even well managed work teams will suffer from unexpected and unwanted turnover.   Employee hungry employers will be targeting the “currently employed” – your employees.   Studies show that one third of the current workforce is actively looking for a new job; the number “willing to listen” to a competitive offer  is much higher.  Unexpected and unwanted turnover is already a trend…and on a path to get worse in 2016.

Staffing Trend 3 –  Hiring and retention will become high stakes work.  

We’ve all seen employer costs grow in the face of new statutory and regulatory mandates.  As these costs increase, the number of employees employers are willing to hire for core roles decreases, putting more pressure on employees to perform at high levels or run the risk of being replaced.  In today’s leaner work environments, what’s at stake for hiring and retaining the right employees has dramatically increased as have the costs of hiring mistakes. This is a staffing trend that will impact both job seekers and employers.

Staffing Trend 4 – The recruiting landscape will become more complex and expensive.   

As new technologies change how recruiting is done, the hiring process not only costs more but requires specialized expertise at each step – from job posting to hire.  Employers who only hire occasionally, will find it increasingly difficult to know where and how to look for the employees they need.  Employers who are frequently in the marketplace, will pay pay a premium just to stay in the game.

More employers will make decisions in 2016 to either grow their internal recruiting resources, or outsource this work to third party recruiting specialists.  For smaller employers, the challenges of “recruiting on your own” will increase, making the decision to outsource a more viable option.

Staffing Trend 5 – Employees – core and non core – will continue to cost more.

This is one of the most important staffing trends that no one likes but impacts us all.  Employers who resist the realities around competitive pay rates will find themselves unable to hire the number and quality of employees they need – directly impacting their ability to achieve important business goals. Companies who look at the current marketplace squarely – making sure they offer pay and benefit plans that will attract and retain the best talent – are the companies most likely to win the “war for talent.”

Staffing Trend 6 – The strategic use of flexible workforce solutions will continue to have big pay off!      

While temporary, contract, part-time, or other “flexible, on demand” workers make up less than 5% of the current US workforce, they represent one of the  fastest growing segments of the staffing marketplace and a long term staffing trend that will continue to grow in 2016.

Employers who have embraced flexible workforce options continue to earn competitive advantage from their investments, driving more employers to explore these options at a strategic rather than reactionary levels.  For employees, new ways of working are surfacing, driving them to look outside the traditional job market as a way to support their changing life styles.

Staffing Trend 7 – Diversity will become increasingly difficult to manage.   

The US workforce will continue to become more diverse.  And that diversity is not just in color, creed or ethnicity, but in basic values about how people work together.  At no time in the history of work have so many generations of workers been asked to work together.  And when you add generational diversity to multi national, language, and cultural diversity, the challenges of “working together” can quickly get out of hand.  Finding solutions for these new challenges will require companies to combine a variety of best practices in recruiting, hiring, and management. 

Staffing Trend 8 – How employers define “great candidates” will change.   

As technologies change, the soft skills needed by candidates to perform at high levels will become increasingly difficult to define but more important to the hiring process.   The need to hire  employees with the “right talent”,  not just specific skills or experience,  is becoming an important driver of employee selection processes.   Recruiters and hiring managers who learn how to select employees based  on talent and aptitude, not just here and now skills or experience, will be able to hire employees overlooked by others, oftentimes at much lower pay rates.  Hiring right can create a competitive advantage for employers who put the time and energy into doing it well.       

Staffing Trend 9 – Employers will need to spend more on employee training and re-training.    

As educational systems struggle, the gaps between the skills and competencies needed by employers and those available in the candidate marketplace, will continue to widen.  One of the staffing trends that will challenge many employers will be the increased need for training and re training of current and future employees.  Employers who recognize the importance of this added cost, will not only improve their operational performance, but will solidify their positioning as an “employer of choice.”

Staffing Trend 10 – “Temp to Hire” recruiting strategies will grow in popularity.       

As hiring across the board picks up, the pressure on internal recruiting teams to “do it all” will find release in a different way of working with their temporary staffing providers.   There is no question that for many employers, their need for talent will outpace their recruiting team’s ability to find and hire it.   Whle most recruiting teams will resist paying large search fees to third party recuiters, most are finding that by partnering with their temporary staffing vendors to implement temp to hire staffing strategies for certain types of positons, they can expand their recruiting capacity, without adding additional recruiting costs.


Jeanne Knutzen

This article was written by Jeanne Knutzen, founder and President of the PACE Staffing Network, based on PACE’s experience working with employer clients in the Greater Seattle staffing marketplace.  If you would like to know more about local staffing trends or want to know more about the candidate marketplace in your local community (Everett, Tacoma, Bellevue, Redmond, Kent, or places in between),  don’t hesitate to contact Jeanne at jeannek@pacestaffing.com.  You can also reach the PACE partnership development team by contacting infodesk@pacestaffing.com or calling 425-637-3311.




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