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James Paterek Examines the History of Staffing

Business, Education, Staffing, Staffing Services

The History of Staffing

For over a century, staffing agencies have been responsible for connecting qualified applicants with temporary positions.

MANHASSET, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, October 10, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Many people employed today have staffing agencies to thank for their position. For over a century, staffing agencies have been responsible for connecting qualified applicants with temporary positions.

James Paterek, the Chief Strategy Officer of Millbrook Support Services, Inc., knows firsthand how critical staffing agencies are to the daily workflows of industries, such as the healthcare industry. As open positions become available, agencies like Millbrook's utilize their expertise to place well-trained hires in the right spots — a win for companies and job seekers alike.

While this sector isn't new, it has undoubtedly changed alongside the needs of the American economy. James L.. Paterek explores how the staffing industry has grown and evolved over the past century, as well as how modern staffing agencies are making an impact on the modern job market.

The Beginnings of the Staffing Industry
The origins of staffing agencies in the United States can be traced back to the 1800s when private agencies began to spring up in response to the short-term workforce needs of the first Industrial Revolution.

For example, in the late 1800s, the owner of a "stevedoring" company in Milwaukee realized that his men, who loaded and unloaded ships, sometimes left in the winter when the lakes froze over to find other work. To ensure that workers would be available in the spring when staffing was required, he started looking for temporary industrial positions and opportunities during the off-season. Around the same time (in 1893), a staffing firm aptly named Engineering Agency was created to find permanent work for engineers.

As the economy grew, The trend to find temporary staffing continued into the turn of the century. The most urgent need for staffing agencies began in World War I. As men departed to join the war effort, public (or government-run) staffing agencies were born to help facilitate employment in vacant positions. Many of these agencies then turned private once the war ended.

The 1940s: The Birth of the Modern Staffing Industry
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as James Paterek notes, the next big transformation in the staffing industry came about during another period of conflict: World War II. The war prompted the largest need for domestic short-term labor in U.S. history, creating an increased demand for consumer goods and services, including autos, homes, and appliances.

As men and women returned stateside after the war, many turned to staffing agencies for assistance in finding employment. Many women looked to remain in workforce positions they had acquired during the conflict, and staffing agencies provided the connection needed to make that happen. For example, the staffing agency Kelly Services, founded in 1946, played a significant role in providing employment opportunities for women and minorities in the years after the war.

Staffing agencies remained a permanent aspect of the American economy from there on out.

A Boom in Temporary Employees
From the 1960s to the 1980s, businesses began to hire temporary (aka contract) employees in droves. As the economy shifted post-WWII, temporary hires grew substantially, and these positions were often facilitated and filled by short-term staffing firms.

One such type of firm was the Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), established in the 1970s to provide HR administrative services and staffing to employers.

Additionally, says Paterek, technological advances and changes to the overall American workforce combined to create numerous new contract jobs in then-burgeoning industries like computer programming and finance. The American legal system began to adapt to protect temporary employees, making this type of work more appealing to many candidates.

How the Internet Changed Staffing
The next major shift for staffing agencies came with the advent of the Internet or the World Wide Web. Throughout the 2000s, Americans began to use online platforms and software (such as job boards) to search for positions, and staffing companies have relied on this technology to connect workers with job roles ever since.

This new technology also led to a boom in agencies, with thousands of new staffing companies sprouting up over the last two decades. Now, agencies are specialized in various industries. Rather than putting in work at in-person career fairs or conventions, these organizations often make the biggest impact online.

The Staffing Industry Today
As James Paterek knows, staffing agencies are vital to today's economy. As many Americans seek flexible short-term or freelance work, staffing companies are uniquely positioned to connect them to the perfect position.

The Future of Staffing
With the benefits of today's technology, staffing agencies can track candidates and analyze their success rates with incredible precision.

In addition, staffing agencies are well poised to become the key go-between for businesses and candidates due to a growing acceptance of contingent work, the use of online platforms (Zoom, Teams, Go to Meeting, etc.) for interviewing, the need for staffing in critical industries facing labor shortages such as healthcare, and the overall growth of professional staffing.

James L. Paterek was the founder & former Chairman of Comforce Corporation, a publicly traded human capital business, and currently the Chief Strategy Officer of Millbrook Support Services, Inc. Millbrook supplies Physicians, Nurses, Advanced Practice Providers, and Allied Healthcare staffing services to government agencies and commercial clients nationwide.

The History of Staffing
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