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Staffing Firms are the Second Most Utilized Method of Finding Top IT Talent, Finds TEKsystems

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About TEKsystems

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, we understand people. Every year we deploy more than 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals–while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.

HANOVER, MD – June 03, 2010 – Companies are beginning to hire again. With 81% of IT leaders expecting to increase or keep their IT staffing levels the same over the next six months, many leaders are faced with the challenge of finding the right talent to fill their roles. TEKsystems’ quarterly IT and Talent Survey findings reveal that outside of internal human resources departments, staffing firms are by far the most utilized resource for IT hiring needs.

TEKsystems, the nation’s leading technology staffing and services company, partners with the Inavero Institute to conduct its quarterly IT and Talent Survey. This quarter’s survey reflects the perspectives of nearly 1,000 CIOs and IT decision makers in the U.S. and Canada.

Survey results indicate that temporary IT hiring is expected to slightly outpace permanent IT hiring over the next six months. “The old belief that contingent labor is somehow lower quality has become obsolete,” says TEKsystems Director of Marketing, Rachel Russell. “Leaders see temporary workers as a high quality, strategic option to handle the ebbs and flows of today’s business climate. Hiring IT workers on a project basis becomes a competitive advantage, as it allows companies to meet critical deadlines faster, more cost effectively and with more flexibility.”

Just as employer perceptions of contingent IT labor have changed, top IT consultants are more open to contracting than ever before. Many within the IT workforce view temporary employment as a means to work on interesting projects at varied companies, which bolsters their resumes and allows them to sharpen skill sets. “The modern IT professional is starting to look beyond the allure of permanent employment,” says TEKsystems Senior VP of Sales, Greg DeLuca. “The IT workforce wants to stay cutting edge and in demand. Temporary work is an excellent solution that allows top talent to work on innovative projects at varied locations. We find that expensive benefits, unmanageable workloads due to small staffs and the use of laggard technologies push top IT talent toward temporary work as a means to offset the downsides of a permanent position.”

Given the supply and demand dynamics at work, top IT talent is difficult to find. Thus, while HR was identified as the primary channel for attracting new employees, the market is leading many HR leaders to tap into their staffing partners to access needed IT skill sets. This trend is compounded by the wide range of responsibilities most HR leaders assume. So, while recruiting is a priority, it can sometimes be difficult to invest the attention it deserves due to a lack of available bandwidth. Given these circumstances, it’s no surprise that over 90% of companies in the U.S. use staffing firms1 and nearly 60% of HR departments are involved in selecting and managing staffing suppliers2. By partnering with IT staffing providers, HR gains dedicated and specialized IT recruiters – and with them – a pipeline of qualified talent, including access to particularly hard to find skill sets.

“It’s not about HR offloading responsibility – it’s about working smarter,” says TEKsystems VP of Staffing Operations, Mike McSally. “Finding the right candidates to fill critical roles is paramount and HR organizations understand that turning to the experts – particularly for hard to find IT skill sets – is an efficient way to find the candidates who can quickly add value and positively impact the business.”

The better your relationship with your staffing provider, the more value it can provide. To assess your current relationship with your staffing vendor, consider the following relationship “levels.”

  • The Gate Keeper. With an aim of maximizing efficiencies and productivity, many organizations keep their recruiting vendors at arm’s length. They may force them to submit all candidates through an automated system (“the black hole”) with no mechanism for dialogue or follow up. Over half of organizations that purchase staffing services also restrict a recruiter’s access to the hiring managers. Unfortunately, this model can have some negative, albeit unintended, consequences. To attract top talent, recruiters are limited by the information and insight they possess about the opportunities they are looking to fill. If they can only share an electronic job description and a rate, they will find it difficult to catch the attention of high performers who are likely already gainfully employed. Moreover, they will also find it nearly impossible to appropriately screen candidates if they are unaware of the “intangibles” involved in making a quality placement, including the work style of the hiring manager, the culture of the group and insight into why others in a position were or were not successful.
  • The Facebook Friend. Some organizations allow their staffing providers inside the fold, but only slightly so. For example, many large organizations may have hundreds of staffing providers and therefore never invest deeply in ensuring any one vendor really understands the big picture. Others rely on staffing providers in the ninth inning – when they’ve tried to fill a certain position, discover too many challenges and release it to a professional recruiter when they “needed it yesterday.” At that point, the providers must work to understand the company, the role and the culture, and then begin crafting a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP). They must then do the due diligence of sourcing, screening and onboarding the right person – all of which takes time. If organizations instead leverage their best short list of staffing providers by engaging them in proactive workforce planning, keeping them abreast of upcoming IT initiatives, asking them for insight into the market dynamics, and providing them with ample feedback on what has / hasn’t worked well in the past, they would receive even greater value from their relationships.
  • The True Partner. Some mature organizations have removed barriers and consolidated vendor lists to ensure they receive the greatest amount of attention, service and value from their staffing providers. At these organizations, staffing providers are offered incentives to out-perform their competitors. They are welcome to engage with hiring managers and proactively understand the strategy, mission, culture and business drivers behind job openings. As a result, they are empowered to build pipelines of qualified talent and help manage performance and retention of their contingent staff. If they do these actions well, the organization benefits from more qualified, high-performing talent. Meanwhile, the staffing providers also win, as the organization recognizes their value and rewards them with more business.

1American Staffing Association (ASA), 2008
2Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) Buyer Report, 2009