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Workforce Solutions Ecosystem


The ‘workforce solutions’ space gets categorised; where firms fit.

When companies want to bring aboard talent or manage it, they have more ways than ever to do so. Choices range from temporary agency workers to independent contractors and from HR consulting to crowdsourcing.

‘Workforce solutions’ providers represent a broad array of firms.

To get a high-level look at the workforce solutions space and define the players, Staffing Industry Analysts recently released its “Workforce Solutions Ecosystem” report. It marks the first time we have attempted to codify and illustrate this entire ecosystem. And for those interested in expanding their business, the ecosystem offers a roadmap of opportunities.

It breaks down the workforce solutions space into six primary segments:

  • Staffing
  • Process outsourcing
  • Payrolling/compliance
  • Contracting/consulting
  • Talent acquisition technology (which includes the human cloud)
  • Other workforce solutions

Most firms are focused on a particular segment but many firms provide services across different segments of the Ecosystem. It seems that what some regard as being a complementary service, others regard as core. So there’s a rich variation in what might properly constitute a recruitment (or labor hire) firm and it would be foolish to be overly prescriptive in trying to define one – especially when you look at the market on a global basis.

Related: SIA’s Workforce Solutions Ecosystem

EcosystemStaffing is a broad grouping of staffing and employment-related services where a staffing firm, supplier, broker, agent or consultant provides employment services.

Process outsourcing describes the use of an outside vendor to perform part or all of the role of a human resources department or a specific work output.

Payrolling/compliance: Payrolling is the provision of longer-term temporary workers to a customer where the workers have been recruited by the customer but become employees of the supplier. Compliance describes the ability to act legally, following a set of rules so that parties are not exposed to any specific legal and/or financial risk related to the sourcing, recruiting, hiring and/or management of contingent workers.

Contracting/consulting includes directly sourced contingent workers and statement-of-work consulting services.

Talent acquisition technology includes technology-based businesses related to attracting, sourcing, recruiting, and hiring (or placing) employees and non-employed workers within an organization. An important sub segment of the talent acquisition technology segment is the human cloud. Staffing Industry Analysts defines the human cloud as an emerging set of work intermediation models that enable work arrangements of various kinds to be established and completed (including payment of workers) entirely through a digital/online platform.

Other workforce solutions is a broad grouping of employment-related services including employee benefits services, insurance, retirement services, employee development, motivation/engagement, outplacement, HR consulting, testing, training, relocation services and any other HR related services not found elsewhere in the ecosystem.

While the report aims to define the current state of the market, the Workforce Solutions Ecosystem is undergoing a period of turbulent change amid improvement in technology combined with economic and demographic trends. Firms are presented with threats on multiple fronts as well as new opportunities to improve performance and competitiveness. Just as in a naturally evolving ecosystem, in a business ecosystem the companies that are most adaptable to change, and not necessarily the strongest or largest, will flourish.

RCSAJohn Nurthen is executive director, global research, for Staffing Industry Analysts, the global advisor on contingent work. For more information, visit

Originally published in RCSA Journal Sept 2015

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Staffing Industry Analysts is the global advisor on contingent work. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company’s proprietary research, award-winning content, data, support tools, publications, and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing. In addition to temporary staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts also covers related staffing sectors.

Staffing companies and their suppliers benefit from personalised intelligence, research, proprietary tools and advisory services from SIA’s expert analysts that are included with Corporate Membership. Corporate members receive legal/regulatory updates, market forecasts, financial/operating benchmarks and briefings on key economic and financial indicators.

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Categories: Marketplace

Tags: Staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts, Startegy, RCSA, Recruitment market, Workforce Solution Ecosystem

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