U.S. Jobs Grow – How Will It Impact HRO
By now, most have heard last Friday’s favorable jobs news.
In the U.S., 243,000 jobs were added in January, bringing the unemployment rate down to 8.3%, and as noted on one of the staffing provider’s earnings calls last week, down to 4.2% for college graduates. Government jobs have contracted as expected, while the private sector had the gains in the services industry, specifically in leisure, hospitality, education, healthcare, and retail, and in manufacturing, including construction.
Also last February 3, Randstad reported a five-point rise in its U.S. Employee Confidence Index. The index measures the workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and optimism in the economic environment. This is the biggest increase since the survey started seven years ago.
With good reason to be optimistic, many RPO providers are realizing the gains with increased hiring volumes by existing clients. Even before this welcome employment news, 2011 had been a good year for HRO. In RPO, many vendors achieved significant growth, including Kelly OCG, whose RPO revenue was up 40% year-over-year from 2010; Pinstripe was up 58% y-o-y with 21 new contracts and extensions; and for Q4, Kenexa reported an RPO growth of 54% y-o-y.
But the benefits go far beyond RPO. Increased hiring bodes well for providers of payroll, benefits, and learning as the number of employees they serve increases. For example, ADP, who already pays 1 of 6 U.S. employees, announced the number of employees on its U.S. client payroll increased by 2.8% in fiscal Q2 2012, for the period ending December 31, 2011. Benefits administration providers including Aon Hewitt, Fidelity, and Mercer reported numerous contract awards in 2011. In MPHRO, in North America, ADP won several new contracts, while IBM was awarded a large MPHRO contract with Air Canada and NorthgateArinso awarded a seven-year MPHRO renewal by Fifth Third Bank. In learning, vendors including Raytheon, Xerox, and Accenture won several contracts. There are more updates to follow on learning as NelsonHall is currently conducting a global learning BPO market analysis.
However, a few words of caution by ManpowerGroup were given last February 3 that demand is expected to continue to fluctuate and it would be prudent for employers to adopt flexible workforce models that include: full-time, contingent, and virtual-skilled workers to ensure productivity.
There are a few key implications here:
- Providers who haven’t yet provided recruitment services that include RPO, MSP, and Contingent Workforce services would be prudent to evaluate doing so and/or consider partnering with a vendor that does
- Given the ManpowerGroup statistic that 52% of U.S. companies are struggling to fill key jobs, focus on the development and retention of talent is more paramount than ever. Buy-side organizations should be continuously monitoring employee satisfaction, reviewing attrition rates, conducting exit interviews to find out why people leave, and developing action plans to improve organizational effectiveness. If buyers do not have this capability, they may want to consider a talent management vendor who can help them, which has become a key HRO vendor focus and for good reason!
Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall
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