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Why Staffing Agencies Are Doing Better After the Pandemic

COVID-19 devastated the airline, hotel, theatre, shipping, retail, oil, and food industries.

Small businesses vaporized. Medium-sized companies managed to hold on after securing financial help. Big businesses survived because of deep pockets.

But the Indian Staffing Federation’s annual report of 2021-2022 reported that staffing companies in India grew a modest 3.6% despite almost every other industry falling into a nosedive in the same year.

So how did that happen?

Let’s find out.

Lessons Learned

Staffing services learned a few key points during the past few years:

  • People are unwilling to relocate for jobs because they want to remain close to family, friends, and social support networks.
  • There is an overwhelming demand for work-from-home positions.
  • Traffic is universally despised to the point that it plays an active role in candidates’ decision-making.
  • The number of advertised job openings has dropped as businesses have incurred massive losses they would otherwise spend on advertising.
  • An overwhelming majority of candidates are willing to accept pay cuts to get a job with features they like(i.e., work from home jobs).

Tech companies, unlike many others, managed to survive during the pandemic because they already possessed the infrastructure necessary for remote working. 

Start-ups faced challenges, but funds from venture capitalists continued to pour in, forcing businesses to scale quickly.

The challenges, in turn, drove many to staff agencies to provide the necessary workforce for their organizations.

Here’s what staffing agencies did to adapt during his time and what they did to turn a period of losses into growth instead.

Adapt Or Die Teleworking

The majority of staffing agencies shifted towards teleworking for their primary operations. 

Reports indicate that while not 100% of firms have gone remote, more employees in the staffing sector are working remotely than ever before.

Interestingly, they are helping their clients retain staff by training them regarding work-from-home policies and enforcing flexible work policies.

 

  • The rise of women in the workforce

Studies show that employment for men declined during COVID-19 by 4% while employment for women increased by 6%. 

The reason for this was an upwards spike in women returning to work or looking for second careers because of Flexi policies. As a result, 2021 has been exceptional for the Flexi staffing industry.

 

  • Increase in temp work in the IT sector

The tech sector was one of the few that performed extraordinarily well during the pandemic, with large businesses increasing their demand for new employees by as much as 30.7% during 2022 and 14% more in 2021.

The increased need for booming digital services across the globe requires the IT industry to fill more positions.

 

  • Growth-driving Sectors are Inducing Demand

Not all sectors performed poorly. For example, healthcare, pharma, edutech, and e-commerce saw a sharp rise in the last few years due to changed purchasing habits driven by more people using screens. 

The above sectors alone were responsible for 35% of the employment growth in 2021, with plenty of digitization underway in other fields.

Telemedicine, remote education, and e-commerce all scrambled to change their processes to adapt to the new economy and turned to staffing services to meet their unique requirements.

  • Capitalization on a Liquid Workforce

Employers and employees everywhere have turned to freelancers or contract-based work because of its advantages in a shaky market. In addition, it has boosted the growth of online jobs available in the workforce.

The hiring market might close and open at any given time for any given industry without warning. When this happens, finding full-time work becomes such a challenge that individuals are forced to become freelancers to survive.

The Future

Staffing agencies played a vital role in catalyzing digital transformation across industries in India. While most sectors were slow to adapt, staffing agencies helped organizations adjust to the new normal and grow during turbulent times.

Most sectors will need to double or even triple their existing staffing to make up for months, if not years, of lost time and ground. 

The temporary staffing solutions will likely boom in the short term while things slowly return to normal over a long time.

The past few years have been an important lesson for everyone regarding disruptions. If your business is highly efficient and optimized, it might combust at the slightest disturbance in the market. But, ultimately, when supply chains are disrupted and what is taken for granted stops working, your company’s working capital matters: People. 

Employers need to be ready with a “liquid workforce” at any given time that can adapt to whatever happens in the market. 

A liquid workforce allows businesses to enjoy a competitive advantage when another disruptive event rears its head. 

The workplace has undergone a complete shift that businesses need to adapt to, and a good staffing agency is the first line of defense for any business during uncertain times.

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