• 23% of staffing firms drive their job orders through a VMS, while contract firms drive 31% of their job orders through a VMS
  • In 2014, 77% of survey respondents said their total job placements grew during the year, with light industrial and finance/accounting experiencing the most growth
  • The use of social media is considered the greatest opportunity for recruiting firm growth in the next 5 years


September 01, 2015

Current Staffing and Recruiting Trends

Bullhorn recently released its 2015 North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report, which highlights key trends in the staffing industry. The report revealed that 2014 has been a continued year of success for the industry, though the rapid rate of growth in the last few years seems to have slowed. Survey respondents reported generating significantly more revenue from repeat client business than in previous years, which can either be seen as a sign of consistency or as a reduced focus on expanding the client base.

VMS Usage

According to Bullhorn, 23 percent of staffing firms drive their job orders through a Vendor Management System (VMS), while contract firms drive 31 percent of their job orders through a VMS.

Job Orders Through VMS

Job Orders Through VMS

Source: Bullhorn

Large recruiting firms rely heavily upon customer relationship management (CRM) and applicant tracking systems (ATS), with 81 percent indicating that they used these systems to work effectively. Meanwhile, 80 percent of recruiters at smaller firms also said they need a CRM or ATS to perform their jobs.

Job Placements and Fill Rates

In 2014, 77 percent of survey respondents said that their total job placements grew throughout the year. Among roles recruited, light industrial and finance/accounting experienced the most growth.

Total Placement Growth at Staffing Firms, by Role Recruited

Total Placement Growth at Staffing Firms, by Role Recruited

Source: Bullhorn

The average fill rate across staffing agencies was 50 percent, an increase of 4 percent from the year before. Retained executive search firms had the highest fill rate at 71 percent, while contract firms had the lowest at 40 percent. By industry, recruiters sourcing for industrial jobs had the highest fill rate of 62 percent, while recruiting for government had the lowest at 40 percent.

Average Fill Rate by Industry

Average Fill Rate by Industry

Source: Bullhorn

Time to Fill and Number of Submissions

In regards to time to fill, temporary firms averaged 7 days, while contract firms averaged 10 days. Permanent firms averaged 23 days, an improvement from 32 days in 2013. Bullhorn attributes much of this increased speed to the quickening pace of placements in the energy and healthcare sectors.

On average, staffing firms submitted five candidates to the client for every hire in 2014. Sales jobs required the highest number of submissions per hire, while general healthcare positions required the lowest number of candidate submissions. Recruiting professionals received an average of 24 applications per job posting in 2014. Sales jobs received the most applications per job posting, while IT/technical jobs received the fewest applications with only 19 per job posting.

Forecasted Trends

Opportunities and Threats: According to Bullhorn, the use of social media is considered the greatest opportunity for recruiting firm growth in the next five years. Another identified top opportunity is emerging technologies that will help recruiters find and engage qualified and skilled candidates. Other opportunities include mobile recruiting, and increased demand for job placements in the Healthcare and IT sectors. Top threats include a shortage of skilled candidates and increased competition as new recruiting firms enter the market. Other identified threats included outdated technology, direct sourcing, and the Affordable Care Act. Bullhorn expects that competition for candidates will be intense in the next few years, and the agencies that utilize technology the most effectively will get a boost towards achieving their goals.

Skills Shortage: In 2014, 75 percent of recruiters struggled with a skills shortage in the sectors in which they recruit. Government, the sector with the lowest fill rate, had the highest percentage of respondents who reported a shortage of skilled candidates. However, other sectors, including light industrial, IT, and engineering roles, also were impacted by a lack of qualified candidates.

Candidate Sources: The best candidate sources in 2014 were existing candidates from the agency’s ATS and referrals from successful placements. The worst sources were cold calling, aggregator sites, and re-hires.

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