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Top MSP Industry Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore

If you attended the Contingent Workforce Strategies (CWS) Summit presented by Staffing Industry Analysts, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the terminology, trends and best practices in the marketplace. To help make sense of it all, here’s our take on the top trends in the contingent workforce space in the coming years:

More focus on the suppliers

Although the technological advances and increasing complexity of global programs have created confusion in the industry, more companies are focusing on how to most effectively manage their supply base. What good is having 200 suppliers in an MSP program if none of those suppliers are incentivized to perform and few recruiters are prioritizing the program with their candidates? A desire to return to basics — the core relationship of a staffing company with its contingent workforce — is a trend we expect to continue as organizations look for more ways to be competitive in the industry.

“It is exciting to see at this year’s CWS conference that there are an increased number of mid-sized companies looking to expand their contingent workforce programs. I predict that more of these companies will be interested in finding the right solution for them — one that meets their workforce goals, provides visibility and presents operational efficiencies to optimize their business goals.

Gone are the days of first generation, “one size fits all” MSP programs designed for the much larger, complex and global customer. It is no longer solely about the best technology or having a no-touch program. Companies are looking for a customized blend of technology, program management and quality suppliers that meet their business objectives and unique needs.”

-Kevin Vezzani, Director MSP – Aerotek MSP

Increased VMS oversight

Vendor Management System (VMS) providers are just getting started. These technologies are quickly becoming essential to the industry, a trend demonstrated by their increased adoption and the estimated $136 billion spent on VMS products in 2014 (according to Staffing Industry Analysts). With business technology companies becoming more interested in acquiring VMS functionality as part of their suites of services (as SAP did with Fieldglass), it is clear that more companies are gravitating towards using a VMS technology as part of their overall contingent workforce management solution.

Increased competition

Many companies began implementing Managed Services Provider (MSP) models five to ten years ago; today, companies are not only concerned with program implementation, but ongoing improvement as well. Large clients are looking for more from their providers and are not afraid to shop around to find the program that best meets their needs.

According to SIA’s 2015 VMS and MSP Competitive Landscape report, the global growth in MSP spending was 17 percent in 2014 — down from 19 percent last year. This implies the market is becoming more mature and incumbent MSP providers will increasingly compete with other providers to retain their clients.

Additional technology and tools

With the advent of freelancer management systems (FMS) to provide oversight to the freelancer workforce, companies will continue to add additional technologies to their workforce management solutions. Companies will need to decide how complex and inclusive they want their staffing programs to be.


These trends reflect the maturation of the staffing industry in North America. The time of explosive growth is over: Most of the largest companies have an MSP program in place and are now looking to gain greater efficiency in their programs.

Many mid-market companies are also looking for a solution customized to meet their organizations’ business needs. In the midst of these changes, the focus on the relationship between the staffing company and contract worker cannot be overstated.

Fulfillment with quality candidates still remains the backbone of any contingent labor program. Expect these trends to continue motivating MSP providers and informing savvy human resources and procurement executives in for the foreseeable future.