The employment and recruiting industry is a fast-growing sector that generates annual revenues in excess of $27 billion.
The employment and recruiting industry is a fast-growing sector that generates annual revenues in excess of $27 billion. Recent statistics have shown that there are more than 17,000 private employment agencies in the United States, which provide firms across the nation with a range of services that includes temporary staffing, permanent placements, executive candidate search, and independent contractor placements. This article provides an overview of this industry sector along with information on the employment services available to US firms and job seekers.
According to a report published by the American Staffing Association, employment agencies across the nation recruit mostly for the following sectors:
The same report indicates that more than 30 per cent of all vacancies advertised via employment agencies require specialized skills or higher education qualifications. On any given week, US employment agencies provide jobs to more than 3 million people, and 76 per cent of those are employed in full-time positions. In many cases, the services offered by staffing agencies are viewed as an intermediate step towards securing a permanent position, since approximately 35 per cent of employees are offered a permanent role by the agency's client.
The American Staffing Association also keeps a useful reference section that covers all the legal aspects that affect employment agencies and their operations across the United States.
Temporary staffing agencies offer a variety of short-term positions, from seasonal work to contract positions or vacancies in highly skilled professions. The job listings published by temp agencies have an average tenure of 14 weeks. According to data released by the American Staffing Association, the US states where temporary staffing firms have a strong presence include California (which employs 342,000 temp workers every week), Texas (251,000), Illinois (178,000), Florida (145,000), Michigan (116,000) and New York (with just over 108,000).
Temp agencies and their recruitment practices are subject to the regulations imposed by the US Department of Labor and by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Labor laws apply to temporary recruitment agencies irrespective of how many employees they have and of whether they receive payment for their referral services or not.
Some employment agencies have a dedicated permanent recruitment team. These job recruiters tend to specialize in matching candidates to highly skilled or executive roles, although contract positions are also common. In many cases, permanent staffing specialist firms also offer their clients comprehensive workforce management and talent advisory services. Some of the largest US employment agencies that can help recruit for permanent positions include Adecco, Allegis Group, Randstad, Kelly Services, and Manpower Group.
It must also be noted that in certain states, companies that offer temporary and / or permanent staffing services for a fee are required to obtain a license prior to start operating in the labor market. The requirements vary from state to state, so it is best to ask about the applicable regulations at your local business development office or at the Department of Consumer Affairs.
There are some government-run entities that offer free employment services to companies and job seekers. In many cases, these state agencies simply provide a source of information and orientation on career opportunities and do not necessarily connect employers with job seekers. However, other state employment agencies function in a similar way to their counterparts in the private sector. For example, the New York State Department of Labor serves job seekers and employers by keeping an online list of the job openings available across the state's regions.
Another example is the America's Job Center of California project, which is the result of collaboration between public and private sector entities. Employers can post job openings online, view a large resume database, and connect with local employment offices that offer recruitment services across California.