Direct tech hiring may be a little soft today, but staffing firms are powering the recruiting market, looking to fill orders for temp and project workers that employers need, but are hesitant to bring on permanently.
“Staffing firms in the technology space are definitely very active today,” said Scot Melland, chairman, CEO and president of Dice Holdings, “and they’re seeing their businesses do pretty well.”
Speaking to financial analysts during a Q1 conference call this morning, Melland said, “Companies are still leaning towards outsourcing talents to contractors, as well as staffing firms, rather than hiring full time.” (more…)
The Palmer Forecast says demand for temporary workers will grow at a rate 5.9% faster this quarter than in the same period last year. And that follows a first quarter growth rate that was 6% ahead of 2012.
“Our forecast for the 2013 second quarter follows recent trends showing growth and indicating another increase in demand for temporary workers,” says Greg Palmer, founder and managing director of industry consultant G. Palmer & Associates. It’s the 14th consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in hiring for temporary workers, he added. (more…)
The U.S. employment picture is looking decidedly brighter at the end of 2012 than it did a year ago. For its final report of the year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate dropped in 45 states in November; nowhere did it rise. (more…)
Only about 20 percent of corporate hiring managers expect to use external recruiters to fill jobs. But 28 percent will turn to retained and contingent recruiters to fill tech positions. Those results are virtually unchanged from a similar Dice survey in May, and have remained about the same for the last two years.
The difference in tech vs. all other types of searches can be chalked up to the tightness of the tech market and corporate hiring plans. While hiring by all employers is likely to be lackluster in the first part of next year, the intense competition for tech workers that has marked the last two years will continue in 2013.
Dice Holdings, parent company of the IT specialty job site Dice.com, and others in the financial service and energy sectors, says its most recent survey of tech recruiters and hiring managers found 64 percent of them will add new tech workers next year. Compare that to a second survey of all hiring professionals, which found only 46 percent expecting to add new hires. (more…)
Staffing agencies placed 13,600 more workers in October, growing the overall temp industry to 2.54 million. That’s a 7.7% increase over the last 12 months, and the new hires accounted for 8% of the total jobs created during the month, according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, in the BLS report issued Friday, September’s numbers were adjusted down from the previous month’s report by 7,100. That essentially makes it a wash for job gains in the temp sector over the last three months.
The broader employment services category, which includes the temp industry, registered a gain in October of 15,800 workers. The 2,200 non-temp jobs came from hiring by professional employment organizations, search firms, registries, and employment placement agencies. Specific data for these sectors isn’t available until a month after the initial report is issued.
In September, executive search firms were down 600 workers, the first decline after six months of gains, which added 2,400 workers. (These counts are for recruiters and other personnel hired and employed by search firms, not the number of individuals they place.) Total search firm employment was 32,900 in September, a gain of 3,100 positions over September 2011.
Overall employment in the search industry is at its highest point in the last 10 years.
Employment placement agencies also shed staff in September, declining by 1,500 workers. Even with that cut, placement agencies have added 10,500 new jobs since the beginning of the year for a total employment count in September of 258,900. That’s an increase of almost 15,000 over September 2011.
Since the beginning of the year, the temp — contract labor — sector has added 144,000 workers, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average monthly increase science January is 14,400. The total number rises to 148,100 using non-seasonally adjusted data. In October alone, the non-seasonally adjusted increase was 56,800 workers.
“Staffing employment growth continues to outpace overall labor market growth as businesses look strategically for higher levels of work force flexibility,” says Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association. “Staffing firms report growth in demand across many sectors, led by increases in demand for higher-skilled talent.”
At the current rate of growth, by next June the number of temp and contract workers will surpass the historical high set in August 2006. That month the BLS reported there were 2.654 million temps at work in the U.S.
With most sectors showing job increases, including a 13,000 rise in manufacturing jobs and 17,000 in the beleaguered construction industry, this morning’s report from the U.S. Department of Labor was one of the strongest in months. In addition to the 184,000 non-farm, private sector jobs created in October (offset by losses in government job), the report adjusted upward the initial numbers for September and August by 84,000.
Surveys of economists in the days before this morning’s report had them forecasting the rise in the unemployment rate, but expecting job growth to be in the area of about 125,000 jobs. Yesterday, payroll processor ADP said its own analysis put October’s growth closer to 158,000. That helped send stock prices higher, although economists, wary of ADP’s track record at predicting the government report, largely stuck by their initial predictions.
But the jobs report has turned those predictions on their head. It shows more strength in more sectors than nearly anyone was expecting. In the retail sector, for instance, most categories added jobs, with motor vehicles and parts dealers adding 7,300 jobs. Retail overall was up 36,400 jobs.
In the professional and business services sector, a broad category encompassing employment and temp firms (up by 15,800) to computer system design (up 6,600) and building services such as janitorial (up 13,300), the overall job count grew by 51,000. It was the largest of all the sector increases, surpassing even the 32,500 jobs added in healthcare.
Although the unemployment rate increased, the number of out of work Americans – 12.3 million — was unchanged from September. The 5 million who have been out of work for more than half a year was also unchanged. Another 8.3 million people are working part-time because they can’t find full-time work, and 2.4 million more want work, but because they didn’t search for it during the survey period, aren’t included in the counts of the unemployed.
The Wall Street Journal observed that a broader — and some would say better — measure of unemployment fell to 14.6 percent from September’s 14.7 percent. This so-called U-6 report combines all the different counts of partially employed, unemployed and the marginally attached.
The Journal said the main unemployment rate increase “was driven by positive factors.” These were an increase in the number of workers deciding to rejoin the labor force and start looking for work. “That could be a sign of confidence in the state of the labor market,” the Journal said, a sign borne out by increases in various measure of consumer confidence.
The average workweek stood at 34.4 hours, unchanged for the fourth consecutive week. The manufacturing workweek edged down by .1 of an hour to 40.5, with overtime unchanged at 3.2 hours. Changes in the workweek and overtime are considered indicators of economic growth. With increasing demand, employers first increase the workweek before adding new hires.
A day before the official U.S. Labor Department jobs numbers get released, an ADP preview report is fueling speculation that the October report will become a November surprise.
The payroll processor and HR services firm, and its new partner, Moody’s Analytics, said this morning that 158,000 private sector jobs were created last month. That’s considerably better than the 138,000 the economists polled by Reuters expected, and is also ahead of the private sector job estimates economists expect to see in tomorrow’s government report.
Wall Street, which is still recovering from the hurricane that closed the markets Monday and Tuesday, reacted positively to the ADP report, adding almost 140 points to the Dow Jones Index by early afternoon. Helping to fuel the rally were two other reports:
- The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to a four-year high of 72.2 in October, a nearly four point improvement over the revised September number. It’s more than 30 points higher than where it was in September last year.
- Initial unemployment filings declined last week to 363,000, down 9,000 from the previous week, and 35,000 lower than for the same week a year ago. The four-week average was 367,250, down 1,500 from the previous week and almost 33,000 lower than last year.
Among the elements used to calculate the Consumer Confidence Index is a measure called the Present Situation Index. It’s based on survey respondents opinion of both current business and employment conditions. Last month, that index jumped from 48.7 to 56.2. The Conference Board said:
Those claiming business conditions are “good” rose to 16.5 percent from 15.3 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” edged down to 33.1 percent from 33.8 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also more positive. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.3 percent from 8.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined to 39.4 percent from 40.7 percent.
While the numbers are all welcome news, economists are sticking with their initial estimates for the Labor Department’s report tomorrow. Various surveys of analysts and economists put the average of their estimates right around 125,000 non-farm jobs created in October. The report, from the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, includes counts of government jobs; the ADP report is exclusively private sector.
For October, ADP switched its research and analysis partner and significantly altered the way it prepares its jobs count. In the past, ADP and its then partner Macroeconomic Advisers were criticized for offering up job numbers that rarely synched with what the government reported a day or two later. It’s hard to say, however, which of the two reports is the more accurate. ADP uses its payroll data — and now has expanded both the amount it uses, and incorporates other employment data — in developing its numbers. The BLS uses surveys businesses and residents complete and mail back.
Commenting on the ADP data, Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist for Worldwide Markets, told Reuters: “I really don’t know what to say about them (ADP) because the numbers are on a different methodology, and we have no track record at all on this new methodology.”
“The number doesn’t have any effect on my thinking for the payrolls number on Friday, which I have at 125,000. This 158,000 private number out of ADP isn’t something that is going to change my view on that,” he added.
Propelled by its flagship tech site, Dice Holdings this morning delivered a financial report so strong it sent the company’s stock up 12 percent.
The company, the first of the publicly traded career sites to report, said it earned 17 cents per diluted share. That beat Wall Street’s average estimate of 12 cents. Dice also reported revenue of $48 million, an increase of 2.6 percent over the same quarter last year and a million more than analysts were expecting.
CareerBuilder, which is privately held, voluntarily reported revenue of $169 million from its operations in North America. That’s a 5 percent increase over the 3rd quarter of 2011. The company doesn’t release other revenue numbers or earnings. LinkedIn will report on Nov. 1.
Monster, curiously, has yet to set a date for release of its numbers. Typically, the company would have done that by now. It also would typically report its numbers this week. There were rumors of a possible sale to (among others) the German media company Axel Springer. The company denied the reports this week.
Dice Holdings, meanwhile, is looking ahead to a strong finish to the year, and product improvements and growth next year.
“We liked the third quarter because of the strategic moves we made,” said Scot Melland, Dice chairman, president and CEO. Speaking with me hours after conducting a conference call with investment analysts, Melland credited a strong IT hiring market and a booming energy sector for the company’s financial performance.
But Melland, who said he hadn’t checked the company’s stock price before we spoke, seemed most excited by the September acquisition of the highly trafficked tech news, discussion, and open source code sites Slashdot, SourceForge, and Freecode. Dice paid $20 million for the three.
As the sites become integrated with the job postings and other career services on Dice.com, recruiters will gain direct access to the tens of millions of tech visitors who frequent the sites each month. Melland said the acquisitions will give recruiters much broader exposure for their brands and open jobs “hitting that passive tech worker… during their work day.”
They will serve, he said, as a “launching pad” for broadening Dice’s reach outside the U.S. and Canada. That’s coming next year, Melland said, first with English language sites intended for global companies hiring for their in-country operations. Later, native language sites may follow.
It also won’t be long, he said, before the company unveils new features and upgrades to its existing jobs platform. I couldn’t coax even a hint out of him about what these might be. All he would say is they will help make Dice “an even more efficient way to reach” talent across its multiple sites.
The only financial disappointment came from the company’s eFinancialCareers sites. They primarily serve Europe, which is still struggling with budget deficits, high unemployment, and related ills. The financial sites were off 20 percent in the third quarter over the same quarter last year.
Melland was hesitant about predicting when conditions there might turnaround. Still, with tech hiring continuing to grow, and demand for oil and gas workers exceeding the available talent in much of the U.S. and other parts of the world, Dice Holdings told Wall Street it expected to earn about $8.7 million in the current quarter and $37.6 million for the year on revenue of $51.4 million and $194 million. Both the 4th quarter and full year estimates are ahead of what analysts are predicting.
The annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management is underway this week in Atlanta.
As it typically does, the event is a huge draw for HR professionals worldwide. Thousand attend the multi-day event that offers hundreds of workshops and sessions and training programs, and a show floor measured in acres.
For the recruiting community, especially for independents, there’s not as much of a focus on talent acquisition. This year’s conference is no different. Of the more than 300 sessions, 16 are designated for recruiting and new media. The emphasis is on how social media is changing recruiting and how recruiters are using social media to attract and hire talent.
Particularly for solo recruiters and small firms social media is an underused and even less understood tool for attracting candidates. Even for brand building and marketing — a topic covered by Randstad’s Joanie Ruge at the Fordyce Forum a few weeks ago — social media is being undertulitized.
However, your corporate brethren have been experimenting with social media for years, finding it not only a powerful tool for building employer brand, but an effective means for building a pipeline of engaged, talented potentials. It’s true that only a small portion of annual hires are directly sourced via social media, but the influence of social channels is significant and growing.
No wonder, therefore, that SHRM has paired recruiting and social media as one of the multiple focus areas for this year’s conference.
One noteworthy session is Brian Glade’s, The Quest for Global Talent. He’s managing director, Global Strategy and the Americas, Association of Executive Search Consultants. He’s discussing global sourcing and the trends in executive recruiting.
It wouldn’t be a SHRM conference without at least some fireworks, which, as has been the case the last couple of years, is being provided by the SHRM Members for Transparency. The organization said it would field a slate of candidates in a bid to remake the organization’s board of directors.
John Hollon, editor of our sister site, TLNT.com, detailed the announcement from the SHRM conference where the insurgent group opened its campaign and released the names of the first four candidates.
Bullhorn, the software company that powers much of the staffing and SMB recruiting market, has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners for a reported nine-figure sum. The Boston-based tech firm announced the deal this morning.
The financial terms were not made public, however sources, including TechCrunch, said the sales price was in the “low nine-figures.” That would be a near tripling of the company’s valuation since 2008 when it got a $26 million VC fund investment.
“It’s a big day here,” CEO and founder Art Papas said. “The employees are really pumped up.” Two reasons for the excitement, Papas said. Because of stock options, many employees will see a financial windfall, but as important, he added, is that Bullhorn will remain independent and growing.
“I work with some incredible people. And with this acquisition, no one is leaving. Just the contrary, we’ll be growing.”
In the last several months, Bullhorn has added 40 employees and now has 201. “We are continuing to staff up,” he said, with plans to grow geographically. Three years ago, in the midst of the worst of the recession, Bullhorn opened an office in the United Kingdom, which, Papas said, “turned out to be one of the best things we’ve done. We’re going to continue to expand.”
The company will also expand its product development, especially in areas that complement its core, ATS service, including CRM, as well as continued enhancement of its mobile provisioning. Bullhorn Reach, the company’s successful freemium social media service, will also see more development.
Declining to get into details, Papas said Bullhorn would also be looking at acquisitions, especially companies with products geared to the 3rd party recruiting market.
Where companies like Taleo (acquired by Oracle), SuccessFactors (acquired by SAP), and the public and still independent Kenexa, among others, have long focused on the enterprise and corporate markets, Bullhorn has concentrated on search firms, smaller recruiting agencies, and independent recruiters.
From its founding in 1999, the company’s products have been SaaS based, an approach that meant recruiters could begin using the software almost immediately, without the need for in-house or other technical help. SaaS, also often referred to as cloud computing, has become the hot trend now, driving HR technology companies to develop a cloud capability. That’s one of the major drivers of the recent string of acquisitions and why SAP paid a substantial premium to the all-SaaS SuccessFactors.
Papas attributed Bullhorn’s success — 40% revenue growth and 400 new clients last year — to its SaaS provisioning. SaaS, he says, is something of an equalizer. “If I’m a small business, I can get the same service as Kelly.”
Kelly, and Randstad, one of the largest staffing firms in the world, are both Bullhorn customers. In all, the company reports it has some 12,000 clients with over 100,000 staffing and recruiting professionals across 126 countries using the system. The company has made the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, the Inc. 5,000 and the Boston Business Journal Pacesetters.