Happy New Year!! This is the time of year that we look back at the highlights of 2011 and marvel at how far we have come. But it is also the time that we look ahead to 2012 – to analyze the trends and events that are going to shape the year to come. In my role as CEO of Snelling, I am interested in the future of the staffing industry. What is ahead? Where is the labor market going? How will that affect the staffing industry? How can staffing firms prepare?

Here are my thoughts on the staffing industry and my predictions for the next couple of years:

Unemployment will remain high by historical standards.

This trend will probably continue, with the U.S. economy seeing relatively higher unemployment than that experienced in years’ past. Even though the number of monthly layoffs has fallen since the end of the Great Recession, the number of jobs and job openings has not increased to pre-recession levels. At this rate, it will take 15 years to get back to the pre-recession employment rate.

Skills Gap

With unemployment remaining high, it might seem (on the surface) that companies will be able to easily fill their empty positions. This will not be the case. Employers will continue to find it difficult to find people with the right skillsets, both “job-specific skills” and collaborative, interpersonal and creative abilities. This trend will not end in 2012. Our market-based economy will continually cause changes in the labor market (i.e. skill shortages), as ways of doing business become obsolete. These changes occur quicker than the public education system and economic development agencies can assist workers in moving from areas of skill surpluses into areas of skill shortages.

Generation Gap

For the first time in recorded history, today’s workplace is made up of members from four  generations, adding a new level of diversity to an already diverse workforce. This dynamic is unprecedented in the workplace, and it will continue as many workers continue their jobs/careers beyond retirement age. Managers will need to hone their communication and management styles in order to effectively oversee this multifaceted workforce.

No such thing as a permanent job

Despite high unemployment, the demand for temporary workers has remained strong. As of October 2011, temporary payrolls jumped 23% from 2010. A temporary workforce is no longer a stop-gap solution, since employers increasingly prefer to take on temporary workers as an alternative to permanent hiring.

Snelling is here to help

As we enter 2012, Snelling remains committed to helping you prosper in this new year and beyond. The trends all point to a strong temporary staffing market, and Snelling provides a full array of temporary and temp-to-hire search services, locating the best-fit candidates for your business. Visit our website to find a local office, where our knowledgeable staff can assist in you with your needs in 2012 and beyond.