Unemployment will remain high by historical standards.
“We could have a recovering economy, yet still have high unemployment,” said Ira Wolfe, author of “The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0” and president of Success Performance Solutions, a pre-employment and leadership testing firm based in Lancaster, Pa. “Ten years out, we will probably still be seeing relatively high unemployment, at least higher than we’ve been used to.”
It might seem that if a lot of people are looking for work, companies won’t need the help of staffing companies to fill positions. But that’s not necessarily the case.
“Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find people with the skills” they need, Wolfe said. In addition to specific job-related skills, these include “the ability to fit in, to work collaboratively, and, if the job does require telecommuting, to be able to do that.”
How to prepare: To find the workers who can serve employers’ needs, staffing firms will need to refine their ability to hone in on specific skills. This could involve deepening their networking connections with workers who have specialized expertise, for example. For the softer skills that Wolfe mentioned, staffing firms will need to be able to gauge how important they are for a particular position, and how well candidates would do.
Demand for knowledge workers will increase.
As we moved in past centuries from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy to a skills-based economy, job demands changed. Today, we are moving to what some describe as a knowledge-based economy: from “hand labor to semi-hand labor to skilled labor to knowledge labor,” Wolfe said.
“The definition of work has changed, which has changed the type of work, which ultimately will change what staffing firms are being asked to do,” Wolfe said.
“The definition of work has changed, which has changed the type of work, which ultimately will change what staffing firms are being asked to do,” Wolfe said. “Teams are dispersed. They’re also temporary. You may be staffing for facilities that are not local, or you may be working for a local company that’s sending people to a remote team.”
How to prepare: The landscape is changing quickly, and Wolfe predicts that staffing firms will have to adjust their business models to compensate. If firms see their customers becoming less tied to local labor, for example, they may need to find ways to provide workers in other locations. This broadening of the location of work could also open up new opportunities for staffing firms to provide workers outside their immediate areas.