Staffing Central: Contract Workers on the Rise, Growing Skills Gap and Increased Wages for Grads

Staffing Central
Whether you are a recruiter, job seeker, manager or entry-level employee, keeping abreast of the latest trends in the staffing industry is key to professional growth. Yet in today’s rapidly changing labor market, staying on top of the industry can feel like a full time job! Wondering what’s up in the staffing industry? Here are the headlines:

1. The employment situation: March

The unemployment rate in March was reported at 5.0 percent, showing little change from February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). U.S. employment increased by 215,000 and notable job growth occurred in retail trade, construction and health care. And good news! Average hourly wages increased by 7 cents in March and rose 2.3 percent over the year. 

The American Staffing Association (ASA) Staffing Index also increased for the third week in a row, reaching 93.34 during the week of March 7–13. The ASA Staffing Index tracks weekly changes in temporary and contract employment. Also noteworthy was the finding that temporary and contract employment numbers were up 0.23 percent from the first week of the month.

2. An exceptional year for staffing and contract employees

Last year, U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 3.3 million temporary and contract workers per week, up 2.6 percent from 2014, according to data released recently by the ASA. 

In total, reported the ASA, staffing companies employed a record 15.9 million temporary and contract employees in 2015. This was the highest number of temporary and contract employees employed by staffing companies since 2000!

3. U.S. Department of Labor report shows surplus of job openings

The U.S. Department of Labor Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report recently announced that “job openings rose to 5.5 million in the month of January 2016.” The report also found that hires declined to 5.0 million and separations decreased to 4.9 million. Of those separations, 2 percent were resignations and 1.2 percent were layoffs and discharges. 

4. New opportunities for low-skill workers

One reason why employers are having difficulty filling job openings is that prospective employees lack the high level skills that those jobs require.CareerBuilder’s 2016 U.S. Job Forecast found that 63 percent of employers are concerned by what they see as “a growing skills gap.” Now, many employers are taking matters into their own hands. According to CareerBuilder, “Thirty-three percent of employers plan to hire low-skill workers and invest in training them for high-skill jobs in 2016.

5. Increasing wages for business grads

Increasingly, companies are willing to pay top salaries to those who have the skills and training they need. According to salary data released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), “salaries for management information system majors are projected to increase from $55,843 last year to $56,846 for this year’s new graduates.” Salaries for other business graduates are also up. Employers should expect to pay starting salaries of $55,246 for grads with expertise in logistics and supply/chain, $54,833 for those who specialize in actuarial science and $53,673 in economics. 

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