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Industrial Staffing Trends: What You Need to Know and How to Prepare

This blog dives into the nine key trends set to revolutionize the industrial staffing sector and how staffing firms are innovating to thrive in this evolving landscape.


Halfway through 2023, industrial staffing agencies are experiencing massive transformation already. Transformation in terms of worker expectations, workforce planning, technological advancement, productivity & culture, and most importantly, the competition to attract new talent is growing fiercer than ever. 

These transformations are forcing staffing firms and even big organizations to rethink their business strategies and implement new ways to stay ahead of the curve. As they look for the latest trends to maximize their business outcomes, ensure you don’t lag behind. Read below the key trends impacting the workforce landscape.

Trend #1. Industrial Staffing Agencies to Embrace the Role of Career Partners
Contractors are choosing staffing firms that are adaptive to changing work preferences

While full-time positions are still popular, work preferences have changed massively in the last five years. There is a growing demand for side gigs, flexible work arrangements, and alternate work models. A recent article by CNBC quoted a LinkedIn study that says ‘‘More than half of U.S. workers (61%) are considering leaving their jobs in 2023 for opportunities that align more with their value system and offer them flexibility, balance, and better career growth. In such a scenario, industrial staffing agencies are offering these workers a little respite by becoming their career partners. They are paying due attention to candidate aspirations, such as what kind of roles candidates are looking at. Do they match their credibility? Are they happy with the work model? Staffing agencies are helping candidates become future team members rather than be temp hires.

Trend #2. Role of communication and responsiveness in talent experience to grow immensely.
Contractors are demanding proactive communication to avoid missing out on a potential opportunity

According to Global Talent Trends Report 2023, contractors who report strong talent experience throughout the staffing lifecycle are six times more likely to consider future opportunities with a particular industrial staffing agency. The report also highlights that candidate experience is impacted by two things – communication and responsiveness of a staffing agency. Most workers prefer proactive communication to avoid missing out on a potential opportunity and to maintain clarity throughout the staffing process. Email is considered the most preferred form of exchange when starting initially and while on assignment. Besides this, they expect industrial staffing agencies to embrace transparency to help them perform better.

To ensure proper communication, industrial staffing agencies now maintain a proper channel of communication from the very beginning. They -

  • Periodically reach out to candidates with potential opportunities in the market
  • Explain them the role and employer expectations
  • Keep them in the loop throughout the hiring process
  • Convey feedback at every step
  • If hired, check in with them time-to-time to ensure they settle well
  • In case a candidate underperforms, then re-align expectations and address issues (if any)

Trend #3. Trust And Reputation to Become Key Components of Success for Staffing Agencies
A Positive Brand Image Is Attracting More Candidates and Clients

Whether you are serving the candidate or client market, one bad review, and all your years of effort, your reputation goes down the drain. That’s why customer trust and the consistency with which you build that trust matter significantly. To cut through the noise, staffing agencies are leaning on three essential pillars - flexibility, speed, and extensive access to talent. Flexibility to adapt according to the changing market. Speed to respond to client/candidate requirements. Access to talent with specialized skills. They are focused on assessing candidate fit, market scenario, and their standing (in terms of competition). Most importantly, every staffing agency is now striving to have a unique value proposition.

Trend #4. Industrial Staffing Firms to Adapt to The Changing Workforce Landscape
Gig workforce is anticipated to increase by more than 30 million in 2023.

As the 'Gig economy' enters the mainstream, organizations of all sizes are turning to it. This has exponentially increased the demand for contingent workers. There are opportunities everywhere in all sectors, especially manufacturing. Some even believe the gig marketplace will eventually overshadow full-time employment. Even if it's not entirely true, the nature of jobs will change to some extent.

In this scenario – two things that staffing agencies are staying mindful of:

  • Customizing their services according to the evolving needs of the employers,
  • Welcoming gig workers, on-demand contractors, and freelancers with open arms, so they can collaborate more meaningfully with clients and also expand their scope of work.
Trend #5. Industrial Staffing Firms to Adopt Technology for Quality Hiring
An increased utilization of AI tools like chat-bots is being observed this year

One of the most critical parameters that industrial staffing agencies are judged upon is the quality of their hiring. It’s also one of the factors that set them apart. But behind flanked curtains, most of these staffing firms toil on making hiring effective and impactful. According to Forbes, up to 40% of a recruiter’s time is spent entering data into an ATS or sorting through resumes. 2023 will witness a significant reduction in these mundane tasks as technology takes over talent acquisition. Tools like AI are already assisting recruiters in searching and narrowing the data pool. Their responsibilities now extend to scheduling interviews, matching talent with a skill set, etc. And this has offered the staffing agencies the added advantage of engaging with candidates one-to-one and finding quality hires.

Trend #6. Skill-Focused Hiring Is on The Rise
Analytical thinking, creative thinking and self-efficacy skills to own the top spot

A recent report by World Economic Forum mentioned analytical skills, creative thinking, complex problem-solving, resilience, agility, and technological literacy as the top workforce skills being considered by organizations across the globe in 2023. This has also changed the outlook of industrial staffing agencies. Several are now adopting a skill-focused approach when hiring or recommending contractors. Many have built internal capabilities and assessment tools to propel skill-focused hiring. Work experience and career history have taken a back seat, and more emphasis is being placed on workers' ability to adapt to disrupted workplaces.

Trend #7. Gen Zs to dominate the gig economy after millennials
Industrial Staffing Firms Looking Forward to Meet and Exceed Expectations of the Incoming Gen Z Workforce

As more and more baby boomers opt for retirement, swimming alongside Gen Z and millennials have challenged most employers. In 2021, Deloitte released an interesting study that discussed what drives and motivates these generations at work. The survey categorically mentioned that millennials and Gen Zs are more persistent and vocal and lean on their values when making career choices. They are also quick to quit if they don’t like working in a particular place/environment. With the growing percentage of Gen Zs and millennials in the workforce, hiring managers and industrial staffing firms are now have an additional task of understanding and connecting with this young workforce. They are also implementing new strategies to attract and retain this generation.

Trend #8. Staffing firms to pave the way for Sustainability and Inclusivity
Companies and staffing firms that are transparent and inclusive in their approach are attracting more young workers

As sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion become central to every organization, industrial staffing and recruitment firms proactively consider these important value components in their business decisions. And this trend will further see an upward spiral in the coming years as the younger generation joins the workforce. Some studies suggest that millennials and Gen Zs are more socially conscious and exhibit sustainable development goal-orientated behavior.

For that, industrial staffing firms are ensuring that –

  • They build a workplace where everyone feels equally valued and select clients that are inclusive and have a people-first approach
  • They strive to keep the ecological footprint to a minimum and promote environmental initiatives, maybe switching to virtual offices to lower the carbon footprint and business cost
  • There is no hiring bias, and inclusive staffing practices are adopted
  • They work with clients that invest in CSR and have a clear D, E & I component in place
Trend #9. Boomerang employees to return after quitting
Employees who leave and come back are in high demand by both staffing firms and organizations.

Three years after the pandemic, the economy has still not entirely recovered. And in this economic downturn, one of the most impacted are baby boomers who quit during the great resignation or opted for voluntary retirement citing wage stagnation amid the rising cost of living, limited opportunities for career advancement, and a hostile work environment. This generation is now reconsidering their decision and once again knocking on the door of their former employers and approaching staffing agencies for work opportunities. While welcoming back boomerang employees can be a bit of a settlement hassle – but given their vast experience, knowledge, and skill set, they are being accepted well.

Industrial staffing firms are recommending boomerang candidates for their familiarity with the organization. They are also tracking workers who have had excellent performance records and have been proven company assets.

Wondering what to do next?

Whether you are a staffing company or a high-achieving organization – these trends will help you stay ahead of your competitors. So, keep your thumb on the pulse and be ready to change, adapt and evolve. While we update you as new trends emerge, let us know your thoughts on the above.

 If you think we have missed out on anything important, feel free to contact us.

PSS cannot and does not provide legal advice. It’s important to consult with qualified counsel before adopting any new policies. It’s also your responsibility to determine whether legal review of work product is necessary prior to implementation.