The staffing industry is a uniquely rewarding line of work. It offers the opportunity to help people meet their most basic needs, like putting food on the table and a roof over their heads. But even more so, the staffing industry changes lives. With a new job, people can uncover a greater sense of purpose. A new job can enable people to reinvent their entire outlook on themselves and the world around them. Helping put people to work is not a responsibility to be taken lightly but should instill a sense of pride and gratitude in those who do it.

Our industry has seen rapid transformation over the last three years. The pandemic accelerated flexibility and changed employees’ expectations and priorities. It also caused great hardships for many, both professionally and personally. Entire industries are still struggling to pick up the pieces and find the skilled workers they need to operate at full capacity.

But with these many challenges also comes great opportunity: Together, we can shape the future of work and build powerful pipelines of talent. In today’s world, staffing can’t be seen as transactional — it is not simply placing a person in a job and then moving on to the next one. It is creating deep, lasting relationships that ensure both employers and talent are equally fulfilled by the time they spend together. This requires developing a deeper understanding of each party’s goals and vision and finding meaningful alignment.

It also means we cannot be stagnant. With the rapid emergence of new technology, we must dedicate our practices to helping talent on their entire career journey, from hire to retire. Data from a 2022 survey of employed and unemployed Americans conducted by OnePoll in partnership with The Adecco Group reveals one in four people feel underqualified for jobs today, and 39% fear potential employers will consider them underqualified when applying for jobs. Three out of four employed respondents report they would feel more satisfied in their roles if they had opportunities to learn new job-specific skills while working. This is where we can make an impact — by helping employees feel ready for the roles they desire and satisfied by their ability to learn and grow.

Adecco has taken a steadfast commitment to building lifelong employability through a variety of reskilling, upskilling and professional development programs. We’ve also sought to help traditionally under- and unemployed individuals enter the workforce by providing ongoing education, coaching and paths to economic growth. This is a win for the talent, who will be able to leverage their skills to obtain higher-paying roles and create rewarding careers, as well as for employers, who can benefit from a larger pool of candidates with advanced skill sets.

For instance, Adecco has partnered with high schools to provide training programs for students, and we provide veterans and military spouses with tailored training and professional support. Additionally, Adecco associates have access to the Aspire Academy, an online training initiative that enables individuals to learn new skills online at no cost to them. A wide set of courses are available, including forklift certification, an in-demand skill set that our organization was finding hard to fill due to gaps in training. We’ve been able to use this forklift program to help people secure higher compensation and to fill key roles for employers.

While this is a passion point for Adecco, it also speaks to how we move forward as an industry. In our evolving world of work, staffing experts must lead with a people-first mentality. By focusing on enhancing talents’ skills, day-to-day work experiences and overall professional trajectories, we have the power to fill skills gaps and create a resilient workforce. In a time of transformation and uncertainty, the staffing industry can serve as a consistent and responsible partner to both employers and talent and help build sustainable careers that open the door to brighter futures at work and in life.