2024 Staffing Industry Trends & Statistics

person holding a resume

Last Updated January 26, 2024

Staffing and Recruitment Market Size

  • The US staffing industry is projected to be a $207.2 billion industry in 2024 (Precision Global Consulting)
  • The US healthcare staffing market size was more than $20.5 billion in 2022 (Grand View Research), while the US IT staffing market size was more than $41.5 billion in 2022 (Arizton)
  • There are nearly 26,000 staffing and recruiting agencies in the US, and about 57% of those companies are in the temporary and contract staffing sector (American Staffing Association)
  • 91% of staffing leaders believe their firms will grow in 2024 with the majority having 10-20% growth goals (Sense)

Working in Staffing and Recruiting

  • The top priorities for recruiting firms in 2023 were (Bullhorn):
    • Winning new clients (40%)
    • Digital transformation (34%)
    • Candidate acquisition (33%)
    • Candidate experience (28%)
    • Client relationships (27%)
  • Over half of staffing firms fill roles with existing candidates in their database less than 30% of the time (Bullhorn)
  • 48% of staffing firms are in the early stages of digital transformation, while 29% are in the advanced adoption of it (Bullhorn)
  • The staffing processes that are most frequently being automated include (Bullhorn):
    • Payroll and billing (42%)
    • Sourcing (42%)
    • Screening (34%)
    • Reporting (33%)
    • Onboarding (33%)
  • 73% of companies in the US use talent acquisition software (Zippia)
  • The average temporary and contract employee tenure in 2022 was 10.0 weeks (American Staffing Association)
  • 75% of staffing firms are using AI in some capacity (Sense)

Challenges in the Staffing and Recruiting Industry

  • The top challenges for recruiting firms are tight talent pools (56%), uncertainty over the economy (33%), and reductions in job reqs (28%) (Bullhorn)
    • Concerns regarding the talent shortage has continued to increase since 2021 with 10% more respondents citing it as a top concern in 2023 compared to 2022 (Bullhorn)

bar chart showing the top challenges for recruiting firms

  • The top challenge for winning new clients is increased competition (25%), followed by hiring freezes/lack of budget from prospective clients (23%) (Bullhorn)
  • The top reason why candidates give up on working with a staffing firm is because the process is too slow (Bullhorn)

bar chart showing why candidates give up working with a staffing firm

  • A third of candidates believe the process breaks down because the credentialing / licensing was complicated or improperly handled, while nearly a quarter of candidates believe it was because the recruiter matched them with jobs that were not a good fit (Bullhorn)
  • The top recruitment lifecycle challenge continues to be sourcing (28%), followed by screening/validating (12%) (Bullhorn)
  • 52% of recruiters say there has been a decline in job board effectiveness (Sense)

Candidate Insights

  • Despite the increase in interest in remote work over the last few years, 70% of US adults still prefer in-person job interviews (American Staffing Association)
  • 56% of US adults agree that those working in-office have an advantage than those working remotely when it comes to getting raises, bonuses, and promotions (American Staffing Association)
  • Younger Americans are more likely to seek out supplementary income with 72% of Gen Z looking for ways to supplement compared to just 30% of Baby Boomers (American Staffing Association)
  • 85% of Gen Z say the entire job search and placement process is outdated (Bullhorn)

Contract and Temporary Work

  • 64% of staffing employees work in temporary or contract roles to fill the gap between jobs or to help them land a job. This is compared 20% of temporary and contract employees saying schedule flexibility is the reason for choosing this type of work (American Staffing Association)
  • 73% of staffing employees work full time (American Staffing Association)
  • 64% of employers plan to increase their use of contract professionals in 2024 (Robert Half)

Light Industrial Staffing Trends

  • 57% of light industrial staffing firms reported year-over-year revenue growth in 2022, though this is slightly behind the average for all industries (62%) (Bullhorn)
  • Light industrial staffing agencies are more likely to invest in technology than staffing firms in other industries (Bullhorn)
  • The top priorities for light industrial staffing firms in 2023 were (Bullhorn):
    • Automating and optimizing key processes through digital transformation (45%)
    • Winning new clients (44%)
    • Candidate acquisition (39%)
  • Tight talent pools (71%) was the top challenge for light industries staffing agencies, followed by uncertainty over the economy (34%) and reductions in job reqs from clients (25%) (Bullhorn)
  • 49% of light industrial staffing firms are in the early stages of adoption in their digital transformation journeys (Bullhorn)
    • Payroll and billing (53%) is the top task that these firms are automating, followed by screening / validating (47%) and onboarding (46%) (Bullhorn)
    • Light industrial agencies that saw the largest revenue growth in 2022 were more likely to have prioritized digital transformation, particularly automated payroll, billing, and talent sourcing (Bullhorn)

Healthcare Staffing Trends

  • Employment in the healthcare industry is expected to grow 13% from 2021 to 2031 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • 50% of healthcare clinicians in the US are considering leaving their role within the next 2 – 3 years (Elsevier)
  • Amongst allied healthcare professional graduates, radiologic technologists (38%) and physical therapists (36%) are the most in-demand (AMN Healthcare)
  • Digital transformation (46%) was the top priority for healthcare staffing firms in 2023, followed by improving the candidate experience (35%) and candidate acquisition (34%) (Bullhorn)
  • Tight talent pools (45%) was the top challenge for healthcare staffing agencies, followed by pricing pressure (30%) and COVID-19 impacts on the labor market (27%) (Bullhorn)
    • The top challenge that healthcare staffing firms have with onboarding and credentialing is that it is too manual / time-consuming (38%), followed by the fact that onboarding and credentialing technology is not tailored to healthcare (28%) (Bullhorn)
  • Nearly half of healthcare staffing firms are in the early adoption stages of their digital transformation journeys, while a quarter are in the advanced adoption stages (Bullhorn)
  • 88% of healthcare facilities use locum tenens physicians or other locum tenens providers (AMN Healthcare)
  • Locum tenens physicians and other healthcare providers are most commonly used to fill in until a permanent provider is found (70%) (AMN Healthcare)
  • The top three benefits of using locums tenens physicians are (AMN Healthcare):
    • They allow for continual treatment of patients (66%)
    • They provide immediate availability (56%)
    • They prevent existing staff burnout (35%)
  • The top three downsides of using locums tenens physicians are (AMN Healthcare):
    • The cost (85%)
    • The lack of familiarity with the department/practice (53%)
    • Credentialing issues (46%)
  • 70% of healthcare executives and managers of healthcare facilities say that locum tenens physicians are worth the cost (AMN Healthcare)


How Big Is the US Labor Force?

  • The US labor force consists of 167.5 million civilians (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Of those in the labor force, 161.2 million are currently employed, a 96.3% employment rate (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • 37.5% of the civilian noninstitutional population is not a part of the labor force; of those not in the labor force, 5.6% currently want a job (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    • The U.S. Department of Labor defines the civilian noninstitutional population as “Persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, who are not inmates of institutions (e.g., penal and mental facilities, homes for the aged), and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.”

How Long Does It Take to Hire Someone?

  • The median time to hire can vary by 1 – 2 weeks, depending on the job function (LinkedIn)
  • Research shows that engineering roles have the longest time to hire than any other analyzed discipline with a median time to hire of 49 days; however, the slowest 10% of engineering hires waited 82 days from application submission to day one at the job (LinkedIn)
  • Administrative and customer service jobs have the shortest time to hire of analyzed disciplines with 33 days and 34 days, respectively (LinkedIn)
Job Function Median Time to Hire (in days)
Engineering 49
Research 48
Project management 47
Business development 46
Finance 46
Information technology 44
Management 41
Marketing 40
Healthcare provider 40
Human resources 39
Design 39
Sales 38
Accounting / auditing 37
Customer service 34
Administrative 33

Data Source: LinkedIn

The Costs of Hiring

  • It takes 36 to 42 days to fill an average position in the US (note that the time to fill a position and time to hire are measured differently) (Zippia)
  • The average vacancy cost of an open position is about $98 per day (The Johnson Group)
  • The average cost per hire is $4,683 (SHRM)
  • The average cost per hire for an executive role is 505% more expensive than the average cost per hire overall (SHRM)
  • The average cost of training a new employee at a small company is more 98% more expensive than at a large company ($1,433 per year vs. $722 per year) (Investopedia)
  • It takes 12 weeks, on average, for a new employee to be fully productive at work (Zippia)

Benefits Trends

  • 83% of HR managers say that their companies have offered new perks in response to the current market; however, many companies continue to prioritize benefits and perks that are lower priority to employees (Robert Half)
  • 46% of employers plan on increasing recognition efforts to keep top performing employees (Robert Half)

Related: Small Business Revenue Statistics

Remote Work Trends

  • 74% of managers say their department offers remote work options (Robert Half)
  • Currently, 60% of employees work on a full remote or hybrid schedule (Robert Half)
  • Managers report seeing increased retention (48%) and better morale and work/life balance (41%) with their remote and hybrid teams (Robert Half)
  • 69% of employed adults feel positively about remote work, and 61% say they work better remotely compared to working in the physical workplace (CareerBuilder)
  • 52% of employees want more flexibility when determining their work schedules (Robert Half)

Salary Trends

  • 89% of employed adults expect an annual pay increase from their employers (CareerBuilder)
  • 66% of employed adults prefer a 10% pay increase over an additional week of PTO (CareerBuilder)
  • 82% of senior managers have given salary increases to workers who have expressed salary concerns (Robert Half)
  • 34% of employers currently offer signing bonuses to attract skilled candidates (Robert Half)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • 69% of working adults are optimistic about their employers’ DEI efforts (CareerBuilder)
  • 80% of executives believe investing in DEI efforts will lead to tangible benefits, including better recruitment and retention (Robert Half)
  • 83% of professionals say that flexibility allows for a more diverse and inclusive workforce (Robert Half)
  • 91% of employers expect their focus on DEI efforts to attract employees will become permanent (WTW)
  • 72% of US adults say that employee resource groups (ERGs) play a significant role in supporting DEI efforts (CareerBuilder)