Staffing firms - work in progress
Matching workers to employers has become a hot business again.
A year ago employers were furloughing staff.
Now many of them are desperately looking for more.
The rapid bounce-back in some bits of the labour market — notwithstanding the risk of a new pandemic flare-up—has been good news for workers angling for a pay rise.
It is also a boon for staffing agencies, which match firms with potential hires.
Beyond short-term dislocations to the workforce, the changing way in which people want to work should keep the recruiters busy.
Firms globally spend over $400bn on human-resources services, according to Royal Bank of Canada.
Much of the limelight is hogged by headhunters that poach chief executives, star bankers or legal eagles.
In fact the bulk of the business consists of placing low-level office hands and blue-collar workers, often on temporary contracts.
The industry is heavily fragmented, but a few global players have emerged, such as Adecco in Switzerland, Manpower in America and Randstad in the Netherlands.
Covid-19 dented revenues at staffing agencies as employers slowed hiring amid the recession and employees hesitated to jump ship.
Now a post-pandemic churn is gaining steam.
Vacancies are up in much of the rich world, as companies seek staff while workers still anxious about infection remain on the sidelines.
The result is a bump in wages, which can be bigger for those ready to defect to a new employer.
The fortunes of recruiters — and their share prices — closely track economic-confidence indicators.
But the resurgence has been especially rapid this time.