How to Become the Temp Capital of America

Earlier this week, Dallas News columnist Mitchell Schnurman declared Dallas to be “the temp capital of America.” That’s a pretty bold statement, but the numbers certainly back up his claim: last year the city’s temporary staffing sector created nearly 24,000 jobs—a whopping 23% growth rate over the previous year and nearly double the growth rate of the next closest contender (Atlanta).

That tremendous growth has been shaped by several factors unique to Dallas, but Schnurman points to one factor that exists not only in Dallas but throughout other markets that have experienced similar growth (albeit on a smaller scale): structural change. Ever since the start of the recession, companies have been doing a lot of soul searching when it comes to how they manage their workforce and staffing levels—and they’ve found it necessarily to revise many of their usual practices and expectations.

The result? Schnurman summarizes it nicely:

After dealing with the mass layoffs of the last recession, more employers are using temps [and] contract workers and outsourcing companies to provide a steady share of their workforce.

Across the nation, this trend has persisted during the nation’s climb out of the recession and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It’s still going strong today and shows no signs of slowing. In short, it looks as though what many people have been calling a “trend” may in fact be the new permanent reality.  

The demand for temporary staffing isn’t going to abate any time soon, so now is the time to take steps to position your organization to meet your clients’ evolving needs for temporary staffing. By providing education and being adaptable, you can help accelerate changes in how your clients view their workforces.

First, educate your clients about the ROI of leveraging a contingent workforce. Want to get your clients’ attention? Show them how you can add money to their bottom lines. Explain how a temp-to-hire strategy can drive profit margins. Spell out the hard-cost savings associated with temporary staffing. Crunch the numbers for your clients.

Next, get involved in your clients’ workforce planning meetings. Early involvement in these discussions gives you multiple advantages. Being a participant puts you in a position to educate your clients’ about their staffing needs (both what they actually are and what you think they ought to be). It also helps you manage your internal resources. And (last but not least!) you can be nimble enough to identify and accommodate your clients’ changing staffing needs quickly and efficiently.

Finally, never rest. Even when you provide the perfect staffing for your clients, you must always keep looking for even better solutions. Nothing is static—markets, clients, and employees can all change on a dime—so you need to continuously seek out new ways to add value to your clients’ businesses.

Without a doubt, the high demand for temporary staffing is here to stay. As companies and employees alike struggle to figure out this new economy, the staffing firms that help their clients understand and negotiate this shift are the ones that stay ahead of the competition. Now is the time to get your organization’s own efforts underway. Who knows—maybe next year your city will be the new “temp capital of America”!


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