IT Staffing Report: June 6, 2019

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Nearly a quarter of IT staffing firms report rising trend in new orders

SIA’s extensive survey work serves as a vital source of research in helping firms benchmark financial and operational performance within the staffing industry. Examples of such surveys with IT staffing-specific data include our annual US IT Staffing & Solutions Benchmarking Survey and the Staffing Industry Benchmarking Consortium.

The Pulse Survey complements these more comprehensive surveys with bi-monthly frequency and high participation rates, making it adept at swiftly identifying shifting trends in the market. One forward indicator of revenue the survey tracks is trends in new orders. Firms are asked whether they have seen new orders increase, decrease, or stay the same over the past three months.

In the newly published report (available only to survey participants) 23% of surveyed IT staffing firms reported a rising trend in new orders. While this metric exhibits a high degree of volatility from survey to survey, if we look at results over a two-year period, we can start to pick up trends. As shown in the two-year chart below, year-to-date results have been more consistent with business activity seen in 2017 rather than January through October of 2018. This is perhaps intuitive when considering the temporary injection of activity into IT projects following the passage of tax cuts in December 2017.

Firms observing an increasing trend of new orders over the last three months

 Notes: 1) Data not available for January and March 2019 as the Pulse Survey moved to bi-monthly in 2019; 2) April 2019 reflects all IT staffing firm respondents, while historical data reflects staffing firms with primary business focus on IT staffing.

Source: SIA May 2019 Pulse Survey

Of course, new order trends do not necessarily directly translate into revenue trends as they do not consider trends in bill rates or the supply side of the equation. The effects of a tighter talent supply impeding revenue growth in IT staffing was particularly visible in 2018 as despite an uptick in new orders, we estimate US IT temporary staffing revenue growth remained unchanged in 2018 from 2017 levels at 4%. We also forecast growth to continue along the 4% growth trajectory in 2019 despite a slower pace in new order activity year-to-date, partly due to some acceleration in bill rates.

Despite consistent revenue growth, the Pulse Survey reveals shifting underlying trends around new order demand, bill rates and unfilled orders (reflecting recruiting difficulty). IT staffing firms stand to benefit in maintaining an awareness of these changes and optimizing delivery capabilities best suited for a dynamic environment.

To receive the complete 26-page Pulse report, we invite staffing firms with US operations to participate in the July Pulse Survey by visiting our Open Surveys page. For any questions on the survey, please contact Maxim Kupfer at mkupfer@staffingindustry.com.

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