Employment outlook

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:21 pm

Staffing agencies expect hiring demand to increase this autumn
The recent uncertainty surrounding the economy has left many people and businesses in the dark, but staffing agencies are beginning to see the light at the end of the economic tunnel.
While concerns about the economy may have prompted companies to be more cautious and “clean house,” according to Carol Schneider, chairman and CEO of SEEK, Inc., the future looks promising.
“We anticipate a bonanza fall,” Schneider said. “We write our orders in pink and last November we were in a sea of pink. I’m telling people to gear up, we’ll be in a sea of pink soon.”
That shift comes as no surprise, although Schneider believes many may have been frightened over nothing.
“The economy was due to slow down and regroup,” she said.
All of the analysis of the economy by the media “makes us pause,” said Lisa Rands, Adecco Employment Services area vice president for the Wisconsin region. “We see something in the paper and it sets a cautious tone.”
The caution may be due more to confusion, said Victoria Mitchell, director of communication for Adecco.
“(Companies) can’t make sense of (the market),” Mitchell said. “It’s not (in a) clear growth or recession.”
The demand for staffing has begun to pick up slowly in the last few weeks for many agencies. But staffing services in turn are waiting for their clients to see an increased demand for their products before the need for staffing will return to previous levels.
“It’s a domino affect,” Mitchell said. “They need a sign that their demand will increase before they will come back (to us for staffing). It’s a practical response; they don’t have the demand.”
There is no clear explanation for this turn-around, but companies are beginning to move out of a holding pattern and finalize decisions about staffing changes, said Sharon Wilcox, manager of Hatch Plus, a division of Hatch Staffing Services.
Areas such as manufacturing, management and finance are beginning to see an upward trend but one of the industries that may be slower to bounce back will be high-tech corporations.
“High-tech industries will remain flat, more stable,” Wilcox said, citing numerous layoffs on both the East and West coasts. “They’re finding not enough new technology for rapid growth.”
While consumer spending has remained high, businesses have chosen to take the more conservative approach.
“Employers were on hold, not making decisions on adding staff,” Wilcox said. “Now they’re making those decisions and we’re seeing it pick up in all different areas.”
That pickup still pales in comparison to where staffing services were at this time last year.
“We were significantly more busy this time last year,” said Jeff McKeown, owner and CEO of Express Personnel in Racine. “The economy has slowed us down.” McKeown hopes that the next year will be more traditional.
“I think we will be busier this time next year, but my only basis for that is optimism.”
July 20, 2001 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display