Gig work and staffing agencies saw gains in Q2, despite recession fears

Staffing agencies and freelance platforms have seen an increased demand for talent.
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These days, reading the economic tea leaves to determine whether the US is in a recession can feel a lot like shaking a Magic 8 Ball that only gives “Ask again later” responses. Despite this, workers continue to be in demand: The economy added 528,00 jobs in July after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 10.7 million unfilled positions in June.

And if their Q2 earnings reports are any indication, some of the largest US staffing firms have been busy trying to attract them:

  • Robert Half saw YoY revenue gains of around 20%, reaching $1.8 billion. Its recruiters, meanwhile, made 39% more permanent placements than in Q2 2021.
  • Adecco touted approximately $6 billion in revenue, up 13% YoY. The firm, Reuters reported, attributed part of the growth to employers needing more permanent staff.
  • Randstad revenue reached $6.9 billion, a YoY increase of 9%. Growth, it said, was largely driven by permanent placements and RPO.

Yes, but…Staffing firms aren’t the only ones seeing their businesses boom. It appears employers are still having to rely on freelancers to fill the gaps: Platforms including Fiverr and Upwork saw similarly strong Q2 results, with YoY revenue up 13% to $85 million and 26% to $157 million, respectively.
“Post-pandemic, we are finding that enterprise businesses are already embracing freelance talent to build agility and adapt to uncertainty,” Tim Sanders, Upwork’s VP of client strategy, explained in an email to HR Brew. A forthcoming white paper from Upwork found 82% of US hiring managers said that “freelancers are a part of their company’s overall workforce strategy,” said Sanders.

Looking ahead. Karen Fichuk, CEO of Randstad North America, told HR Brew that she expects recruiters will remain busy hiring for full-time and freelance positions alike in the months ahead. “Workers still have power in the current labor market, more or less forcing employers to work hard to keep them happy,” she said. “As long as labor force participation rates remain relatively low and the job openings remain so high, it’s safe to say recruiters will remain very busy for the foreseeable future.”—KP

This story has been updated to reflect a correction on revenue numbers for Randstad and Adecco.

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HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.