On the first day of EngageX 2020, the online experience, thousands of staffing and recruiting professionals came together in one (virtual) space to network, learn, and discuss challenges, opportunities, and everything in between.
In the wake of COVID-19 and its long-reaching, devastating impact on the personal and professional lives of those in the staffing industry, many of the speakers at EngageX focused on how we can build a better future for ourselves, our businesses, and the world at large. Bullhorn CEO and Co-Founder Art Papas and former NASA Deputy Administrator Dr. Dava Newman each tackled the theme of looking forward and creating a better tomorrow through two very different yet inspiring keynotes.
Art Papas started his keynote with a look at the current state of the industry. Due to Bullhorn’s access to thousands of records of staffing and recruiting activity, we have a unique insight into the degree of which COVID-19 has impacted business activity.
The verdict? Key indicators like job orders fell to 50 percent of normal activity during the pandemic, but all signs point towards recovery now. Most sectors are still down 30 percent from pre-pandemic activity, but the trajectory is upward heading into the future.
He then spoke of the various opportunities available to staffing firms right now. One opportunity is the emergence of new roles that didn’t exist before and the transformation of existing roles to the world of remote work. He shared the story of one customer who placed 4,000 temperature-takers in the U.S., a job that had no demand three months ago.
The second kind of opportunity is the opportunity to eliminate manual work through automation. By automating time-consuming tasks, staffing and recruiting companies can spend more time on relationship-building and innovating.
Finally, on the eve of Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of slavery, Art Papas spoke to the unique opportunity staffing companies have to create a better tomorrow. As inequality and injustice continue, those in the people industry have an opportunity and a platform to have conversations with talent and employers and shape a fairer, more inclusive world of work.
Optimism also exists for the immediate short-term future of the staffing industry. Nearly 400 staffing pros shared their outlook for the next quarter in a live poll. More than 70 percent of companies expect business to improve, and less than a tenth project their performance to decline.