Since the Great Recession, it has been an ambitious journey for those of us in the staffing industry. Revenue dropped, hiring freezes ensued and clients implemented massive layoffs. To be staffing industry leaders, we had to be creative to stand apart from the competition and, most importantly, to keep our businesses moving forward. Artech’s success during these difficult times came from perseverance and paying attention to details while faithfully examining the market.

Times have shifted, and the market is back on an upward swing. Recent statistics from the US Census Bureau indicate that employment levels are on the rise, up more than 5% in 2015 from 2014. These statistics give us a strong indication that there is growth in the economy, which directly affects the staffing industry. The staffing industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, up 4% in terms of revenue in both 2016 and 2017, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. However, several factors can hinder momentum and convey a negative perception of the staffing industry, including commoditization, chasing cost savings over talent, and lack of strong buyer-supplier relationships.


The staffing industry is a saturated marketplace today, with numerous staffing companies vying for limited spots. Certain buyers are not able to differentiate between suppliers, and certain suppliers have pushed the industry towards the lowest common denominator, leading to commoditization. Commoditization has led to buyers selecting suppliers based on price, de-emphasizing the value provided. In this transactional mindset, innovation and a forward-thinking outlook that are key to success are being lost. Today, there is a need for players in the staffing industry to invest in technologies that not only benefit the buyer, but also benefit the staffing industry.

Cost Savings

It is necessary to educate the buyer on cost savings, benefits and risks — whether long- or short-term. With the current talent shortage, buyers need to have a clear talent acquisition strategy and understand how cost plays into that strategy. Sometimes, saving money up front will end up costing more in the long run. With the increase in demand and shortage in supply, buyers need to find great long-term partners to meet their talent needs at a fair value. And the staffing industry needs to take a stand when it comes to showing its value. There must exist an environment that motivates sustainable longterm, mutually beneficial buyer-supplier relationships.

Buyer-Supplier Relationship

One of the reasons Artech has been successful in this space is because of its deep relationships with buyers in the staffing industry. A good buyer-supplier relationship leads to increased efficiency in communication, continuous improvement in the supply chain and an understanding of the talent shortage in the market. It also increases buyers’ knowledge of the supplier’s business model, products and services. It is key for buyers to continue building long-term relationships with their suppliers because this can lead to significant innovation in the supply chain.

As we look ahead to 2017, there is much speculation that the economy is headed into another recession. While challenging, it is possible for a staffing firm to be successful during these times. Whether the economy continues to grow or takes a downturn, it is important to build strong client relationships to help the industry combat commoditization and demonstrate the value we provide. There is always a solution; this is ours. What is yours?