Coronavirus disruptions provide staffing firms with opportunity

The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it devastating consequences for the employment sector. Many businesses have closed their doors and have no sense of when, or if, they might open again.

However, some industries have proven resilient, either by necessity or by demand. Many of these businesses need more help, and that’s creating an opportunity for staffing firms.

According to a recent cnbc.com article, workers are needed in areas such as online retail, supermarkets and hardware stores. There are also demands for truck drivers, customer service representatives and software engineers, among others.

Major retailers, their suppliers and distribution chains are among those posting high numbers of open job listings. One online retailer reportedly has plans to hire an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to deal with the increase in online orders.

Temporary work, according to the article, is offering the recently unemployed an opportunity to get back into the workforce and earn much-needed paychecks, at least until the pandemic subsides and markets recover, by taking assignments in these areas of demand. Many of these workers expect to be invited back to work for their former employers. In the meantime, however, a temporary paycheck picking up hours working in-demand jobs is offering some a greater sense of financial security. For others, it may be an entry into a different line of work.

According to monster.com, recruiters and staffing professionals are being asked by employers to help them fill the demand for much-needed workers in industries that are seeing jumps in demand. This is creating an opportunity for staffing firms to make inroads with companies that previously might not have had a need for staffing services. For those firms that are able, now is a good time to reach out to displaced workers who are eager and able to take on new roles in the short-term.

The monster.com article also notes that some businesses that don’t need to hire people right now are working with recruiters and staffing firms to have a back-up workforce at the ready once the coronavirus pandemic recedes. This offers firms an opportunity to fill employers’ pipelines by setting up interviews to establish an at-the-ready workforce that can be called on when needed.

Still, as staffing firms look to fill gaps created in the market, there are many reasons for staffing agencies to use caution. The American Staffing Association is sharing a COVID-19 Q&A (PDF) from the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP that outlines specific guidance on what firms can and can’t do if they suspect someone working for them is sick.

The ASA has also posted a webinar featuring attorneys from the law firm Squire Patton Boggs about what relief the CARES Act specifically offers for staffing firms. There’s also a link to a document (PDF) that offers highlights that may be helpful for staffing companies.

The coronavirus has introduced unprecedented challenges into the lives of people around the globe. There is, however, still work to be done. Staffing firms that can adapt to the current situation may be in a position to help those businesses struggling to meet sudden increases in demand while putting people who have lost their jobs and are feeling financially vulnerable back to work.