Overview of the Employment Services Sector
There is a broad range of companies specialists operating in the employment services industry. This ranges from career planning services to recruitment and staffing services, screening services, executive placement specialists, temporary agencies and many more. The employment services industry can be viewed in terms of executive search companies (providing human resource skills and expertise), employment placement agencies (for permanent positions) and lastly temporary staffing agencies (providing temporary employees to other businesses on a short term contract basis). The most popular type of employment service is a temporary staffing agency. Temporary staffing agencies help businesses operate more flexibly and reduce overheads. Temporary staff can be contracted to fill gaps in skills, cope with seasonal peaks and troughs in demand, and deal with unexpected staff absences or key staff leaving unexpectedly. Contracting out to a staffing agency also helps employers reduce their overall salaries and benefits bill. This is because permanent staff tend to command a greater wage packet.
The general aim of most professionals working in the sector is to act as an impartial adviser by matching suitable candidates with the right skills and experience with job vacancies. Providers tend to deal with temporary positions rather than permanent ones, and place people across all industry sectors of the economy. Temporary staffing agencies are utilised in lower paid administrative or customer service roles. Whereas, executive search professionals focus on more highly paid permanent positions in sectors of the economy such as financial services and information technology.
The success of businesses operating in the employment service sector is highly dependent upon the overall state of the economy in which they operate. Employees wages account for the largest proportional overheads in most companies. This means that when firms need to cut costs and make redundancies there is a direct impact on their suppliers of employment services. Some employers choose to cut out the recruitment agent altogether and advertise new vacancies directly. For unemployed people and graduates seeking employment, there are many career planning services providing helpful advice. Many have stalls and exhibitions at university campuses, local job fairs, trade shows and local community business meetings. Career planners help people entering the world of work access job databases, understand local employment opportunities, set career goals and create a practical action plan to help secure that all-important first job.
As part of the job hunting process, potential candidates first step usually involves submitting an up-to-date curriculum vitae to a business services provider. This vital document helps employment services professionals scrutinise possible candidates and create a shortlist of potential candidates for the interview process. Part of the formal due diligence process involves screening and checking candidates facts and information on resumes and discussed in an interview. Reference checking services may involve criminal background checks, checking employer references and educational qualifications. This provides employers with confidence that they are dealing with trustworthy and honest candidates.
The recruitment sector plays a key role in the employment services industry. It can be a truly fast moving high pressure job characterised by deadlines, commission-based targets and long unsociable hours. The role of a recruitment agent entals attracting potential candidates using selling and marketing processes. Recruiters spend much of their day on the phone or in one-to-one meetings. Individuals in this employment sector must demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, tenacity, enthusiasm, energy, confidence, good listening skills and good customer service skills. Depending on the nature of role being filled recruiters may also have strong interviewing skills. The size of recruitment firms ranges from home-based specialists, to large recruitment brands with their own high-street branches and centralised marketing and computerisation.
Executive search professionals (sometimes referred to as head hunters) tend to recruit senior people. They focus on an industry sector in which they have worked themselves. Executive search consultants tend to work in small teams and be retained by large corporations. Large employers want the outsource the headache of vetting large numbers of hopeful candidates for an interview to be done by a specialist provider. It is quite common for executive professionals to contact and persuade candidates already in gainful employment elsewhere to leave their positions and join a competitor. They work closely with the personnel and human resources departments of large corporations and tend to recruit for multiple positions within a team or functional division of the employer. The executive professionals retention fee is usually supplemented by a commission equivalent to a percentage of candidates first year salary should they the offered a position. This incentive focuses search professionals to seek out more senior and experienced candidates who expect to be paid a higher on target earnings.
Employers and jobseekers will be able to find many websites and online business directories listing employment firms. Sometimes employers need the reassurance of contracting with a local employment specialist in order to attract candidates based locally. The growth of online employment services helps jobseekers search employment openings, find out more about local temporary agents and staffing services, as well as research information about possible employers and job openings.
The Internet has also made it extremely easy for anyone to set themselves up running an employment service. There are few qualifications relative to highly regulated industries. However, in countries such as the UK employment specialists are bound by statutes such as the Employment Agencies Act, Data Protection Act, the Working Time Directive and the Agency Workers Directive. It is vital entrepreneurs understand the difference between employment agencies and employment businesses. There should be no confusion as to the responsibilities of employment businesses and payment to temping workers under their employ. So whether you are a jobseeker or employer seeking an employment services company, always check if you are dealing with a registered company. For example, use the Internet to find out a bit more about them before submitting any personal information (such as a curriculum vitae).