200% is how much Express Employment Professionals projects the staffing industry will grow between now and 2012.
"The theory in my industry is that temps are recession-proof. I think this recession has proven that is not the case… I hope they’re right about the future, but we’re not seeing it in Santa Fe right now"—Carlos Duno, president of Marcia Owen Associates
In the first quarter of 2009, the staffing industry (companies that recruit and hire out temporary, contract and permanent employees for a cut of the wages) suffered a 27.9 percent hit nationally, the largest kerplunk in nearly 20 years. Yet, as daily temporary employment plummets, at least one company is expanding.
Oklahoma City-based Express Employment Professionals will open 50 offices this year and plans to open one in Santa Fe in the first quarter of 2010, as well as one or two more before 2014, according to Director of Franchising Fred Bartliff.
“I think putting down roots and [expanding now], as it appears we’re coming out of the recession, is a good strategy,” Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association, tells SFR. “[Staffing companies] are not investing for tomorrow morning but for the next years and trying to time it so they have bases established as demand picks up again.”
As the unemployment rate spikes, skilled and experienced professionals—in all industries—are finding themselves out of work and willing to pick up temp jobs. Meanwhile, as the economy begins to bounce back, downsized businesses may want to start adding back staff.
“But [they will do it] very cautiously with many more temporary employees than they normally would until they get a feel for the economy truly rebounding,” Bartliff says.
Carlos Duno, president of Marcia Owen Associates, which has been based in Santa Fe since 1989, says the market is changing, but not growing. He is seeing an increased need for contract workers with accounting experience, as well as demand for administrative and sales employees. Meanwhile, retirees are returning to the workforce and seeking out staffing companies for part-time jobs.
For now, Duno says Santa Fe businesses have taken the “wait and see attitude.”
Duno sees Express’ expansion as an example of national corporations moving in and trying to muscle out the locals.
“If Express or Kelly Services or Adecco get any money from Santa Fe, it does not stay in Santa Fe,” Duno says. “We hope that [local businesses] will be supportive of each other and create the barrier of entry that I think is important.”