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US staffing market to recover by 2010

US staffing market to recover by 2010, US staffing experts tell APSCo conference

First ever live satellite link panel discussion hosted by recruitment industry
The US staffing market will resume growth by 2010, following an unprecedented 26% fall in turnover in a single year (from a turnover of $126 billion in 2008 to $93 billion in 2009), Ron Mester, Managing Director of US research outfit Staffing Industry Analysts, told delegates at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) 2009 Members Conference.

Speaking via a live satellite link from San Jose, California, Ron Mester said that the US temporary staffing market will grow to $98 billion next year and will continue to be increasingly dominated by professional skills sets. 59% of the turnover of the US staffing market is now accounted for by professional level placements compared to 51% five years ago.

The long term outlook for the US staffing industry is highly positive, APSCo delegates were told, with growth of 18.9% forecast from 2006-16, significantly above the average growth rate of 10.4% for all sectors of the economy.

Sponsored by giant group, and titled The strong take business from the weak the smart take business from the strong, the conference focused on providing information, techniques and tactics to sales and sales management professionals in a challenging and entertaining way to enable them to gain a competitive edge as growth returns to the economy.

The conference was attended by around 200 delegates at the Hilton hotel, London Tower Bridge on October 7 2009.

Following Ron Mesters presentation, conference delegates put questions to the US panel in California (consisting of John Flanigan, Vice President of Allegis, Tom Daley, Vice President of Volt Workforce Solutions and Kelly Robinson, Founder of Broadbean Technology), about the similarities and differences between the US and UK markets:

How does the use of temporary workers in the US compare to the UK? The US market is much less mature in terms of its use of temporary labour. Temporary workers comprise approximately 1% of the US labour market compared to about 5% in the UK!
Why do UK recruiters struggle in the US market? UK recruiters tend to underestimate the cultural differences between the two staffing markets. For example: temporary workers in the US are usually employed by staffing companies, which is still far from the norm in the UK. Sales and recruitment are completely separate roles in US staffing companies, whereas in the UK they are usually combined
Are margins under pressure in the US like the UK? US recruiters operate to mark-ups rather than margins, but US recruiters are under the same pressure to disclose mark-ups as UK recruiters are to reveal margins. US recruiters mark-ups are under pressure as traditional procurement methodologies are increasingly applied to staffing purchases
Is there a trend for end users in the US to shift recruitment in-house? As in the UK, more organisations are shifting recruitment in-house. This trend is accelerating in the US with recruiters increasingly expected to offer other services alongside recruitment
Are US recruiters developing different retention strategies for Generation Y consultants? There is much less emphasis on compensation, more emphasis on training and work-life balance
Will the Temporary Agency Workers Directive deter US recruiters from making acquisitions in the UK? US recruiters are unlikely to be dissuaded from acquiring UK recruitment businesses because of regulatory concerns. The US regulatory environment, however, is becoming increasingly complex under the current administration

The day-long conference started with a leading escapologist randomly selecting one of the delegates (who coincidentally happened to be built like Arnold Schwarzenegger!) to bind him in a straightjacket and 40 feet of steel chains, from which he promptly escaped aptly demonstrating that the smart can beat the strong!

Presentations followed from James Osborne and Gordon Stoddart (Directors of Innergy), Barry Hinckley (President of Bullhorn) and Heather White (Smarter Networking).

Delegates were then offered three choices: the management, sales or CEO track.

For managers, Julian Evans (Senior Trainer from MPS Group) gave an insightful look at how to motivate Generation Y consultants, followed by Gilly Franklin (Principal Trainer at Lander Associates) who gave an engaging presentation on how to get the most out of talent within recruitment companies.

For salespeople, Matt Troy and Roy Ripper (co-founders of Recruitment Juice) gave an inspirational presentation of their Top 10 strategies to generate new business, followed by Lloyd Moore (Director of Mooresby Associates) who offered expert advice on how to maximise sales opportunities during a downturn.

The CEOs were treated to a high level roundtable discussion chaired by Derek McAllen, Partner at KPMG, looking at how to fully exploit opportunities in adverse markets.

The event was rounded off with a lively drinks reception, sponsored by Danbro, which was still in full swing at 10pm.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, comments: Weve had sensational feedback from delegates. This was once again the largest recruitment industry conference of the year. We had some fantastically inspirational presentations and debates, and with the live satellite link to the US, provided delegates with a rare and fascinating insight into the US market.


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