opinion piece

Better, faster, stronger: private employment services enabling sustainable transitions

The HR services sector has the expertise and ability to support the transition of individuals, sectors and organisations in an ever-evolving world of work. After recent conversations on the occasion of the International HR Day and the World Employment Conference 2022, Murielle Antille, chair of WEC’s Career Management Network reflects on how the sector – through its different services – is working to deliver more opportunities for people, organisations and, ultimately, society.

Published on 10th June 2022

73% of people describe finding a job as one of the most stressful things in life, according to research by Aha!. In 2019, based on public statistics, an average US worker would have 12 jobs during their lifetimes. And the number of people switching jobs are reaching peaks as they reassess their work life journey post-pandemic. Enabling individuals with orientation and guidance therefore emerges as a critical success factor to build a resilient world of work.

At this year’s WEC Conference participants got the opportunity to exchange about the gap between workers’ and employers’ expectations. With leadership more disconnected from their workforce than ever before following the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a timely reflection. The private employment industry’s role has increased in the last years, for workers and employers alike. Over the past 15 years, we indeed have guided workers through no less than three global economic crises and helped to bridge the gap between – at times – diverging employees’ and employers’ expectations.

Enabling work transitions

The Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated the shifts towards digitalisation, flexibility and output-oriented work. It has forced more stressful transitions for all labour market players: workers reassess their situation, leaders redefine their mission and workforce migration destabilise labour markets.

Enabling transitions is not just about bridging workforce supply and demand. In the face of growing instability, it is likewise about enabling individuals to gain more comfort in their working lives and about developing agile organisations that remain attractive to talents. For workers, it means taking a stronger ownership over their career journey. For employers, it means building upon people-centred strategies to be best-in-class.

Building resilience

Agile labour markets are built with the commitment from all stakeholders, policymakers and employers alike, to support transitions and make them more effective and sustainable. Only human-centered policies can create the right incentives for business to consider employee growth and internal mobility as investments into the resilience and sustainability of their workforce, and not as a mere cost on their balance sheets.

But there is no silver bullet: workers also need to take their share of ownership. Without their engagement – in what we know can be a stressful process -, investments in employee growth remains static.

According to a recent survey from career management firm Right Management, about 40% of employees have never spoken to their manager about their career progression. Too often, managers lack the skills for such conversations that empower employees to engage in upskilling or reskilling activities and make them more satisfied and likely to stay within the organisation.

Career Management experts support companies to harness the potential of all members of their workforce. They can help create an environment where career development, through coaching and change management, is made possible. Workers are empowered and enabled to take ownership of their next career step.

Enabling opportunities is what the entire private employment services industry is working for. In the United States, with over 9.6 million adults losing their jobs in two years, the need for employment expertise was plain to see. In fact, during the Covid-19 pandemic, staffing agencies provided job opportunities to 13.6 million people (ASA), including those on the front line of the pandemic response, thereby helping to mitigate potentially greater damage to employees and the economy as a whole.

Ultimately transitions are made smoother and less stressful: not only that career transition services can speed up job-to-job transitions by up to 50%, career coaching also can amplify engagement in lifelong learning by factor 3.

Also businesses benefit: those who use agency workforce record revenue growth 5% higher than those who do not. In these times where businesses are desperately looking for resilience, private employment services companies are an important resource for businesses and workers to capitalise on, thanks to their ability to connect job market demands, future market evolution and effective transition support.

Adding value within the employment ecosystem

We are very much at a crossroads in the world of work. Upheavals have catalysed evolutions in terms of employee expectations, policymaker engagement and digitalisation.

However, for the world of work to evolve further, policymakers and industry leaders must utilise those with the greatest knowledge of employment trends, worker needs, and employer expectations. By creating new opportunities for people and organisations while also enabling them to adapt and face change for a more resilient world of work, the HR services industry adds quantifiable value within the employment ecosystem.

Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons-40 Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icons Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Icon Asset 5 Asset 6 Asset 1 Icons_FINAL