Is the Gig Economy Killing 3rd Party Staffing?

Is the Gig Economy Killing 3rd Party Staffing?

Video may not have totally killed the radio star, but the game sure changed. LPs to 8 tracks to cassettes to CDs to MP3s to streaming… Is the global gig economy killing third party, contingency-based staffing? Honestly, I say yes.

✔️ I’m not afraid to make bold predictions and my ability to spot impending failure is highly accurate. Staffing firms still using the “carrot-and-the-stick” style of marketing have maybe 12 to 24 months left at best.
✔️ There’s nothing disruptive or revolutionary about providing the same service as everyone else but trying to dress it up in different clothes. We can all see the emperor is naked!
✔️ Candidates have more legit choices than ever before. The days of candidates standing in the corner hoping a staffing agency can represent them so that they don’t have to represent themselves are already over.
✔️ The global gig economy means that large service providers can serve as a “middle man” in a way that’s much faster and cheaper than most contingency-based agencies can. If you work for one of those firms and you’ve seen the writing on the wall, you owe it to yourself to think about your own future.
✔️ Recruiters deserve to get paid for the work they do, periodt. This contingency-based crap of doing all the work upfront and then hoping you get paid for it later (in some cases much later) is bullsh*t. It jacks up your cash flow and puts you in an automatic space of disrespect.

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Transcription by Please excuse any typos!

Hello, hello and welcome to today’s episode of the Causey Consulting podcast. I’m your host, Sara Causey and I’m also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at Causey Consulting Today, I want to talk about the gig economy and the future of third party staffing. I saw a post the other day on LinkedIn that got me on this train of thought. And it was perplexing At first, I went down quite a rabbit hole, but like, the post that I saw was a person in my area that was struggling to fill a couple of entry level positions. And we looked at the job description and the proposed pay rate, I thought, this doesn’t really make any sense. You know, and it was also work from home. So there wouldn’t have been any objections about COVID procedures or having to go to an office or commute or anything like that. And I thought, okay, we’re in a time still yet, where so many people are either unemployed or under employed. Everything here looks reasonable. And I had a pretty good idea of what company this individual is recruiting for, and they have a good reputation. So I thought there’s, there’s no reason in my mind anyway, as to why a couple of entry level positions like this, especially being reasonable in the pay and work from home. Why is that a struggle? Why is this person struggling so much. So I went down this rabbit hole of thought. And it was a lot like you know, when you accidentally have a two or three hour bender on YouTube, just because you kept clicking on recommended videos from the side panel, you know, like you start out watching a how to on making the best Hollandaise sauce for your eggs, Benedict, and then two hours later, you look at the clock, and you’re watching like funkytown by lips, Inc, and you’re like, how did I even get here? How did the one come from the other? And how did I lose two hours of my life? Well, it’s because you got sucked into the YouTube recommended videos spiral. So I’ll try to make my train of thought much more linear. Because I came to an important conclusion about all of this. In the same way that coaching is a bloated industry with very low barriers to entry. And it has in turn spawned a lot of cottage industries. connected to it here, I help coaches find virtual assistants, I help coaches on social media, I help coaches with their taxes, I help coaches find health care, I help coaches with their PR, and it’s like, oh my god, you know, whenever I see anything like that, and a person’s tagline, or if they write anything about it in a Connect request, it’s just an automatic decline, because I don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches for crap that I’m never gonna buy from you. Like, I’m not interested in that move on to your next prospect. In the same way that all of those industries have become bloated. And there’s little to no barriers to entry involved in them. It is the same thing, my friends with third party contingency based staffing and recruiting. And it doesn’t matter the breadth and the depth that we’re talking about here, either you have damn near anybody can be sitting in their basement office in their boxer shorts and say, Oh, I have john doe recruiting Incorporated. And meanwhile, it’s literally just that guy in his basement in his boxer shorts all day. But he’ll take on your job order free of charge, he’s not going to charge you any money to do this work. He’s only going to present you with a finder’s fee if he’s able to fill the job at the end. Or if we’re talking about somebody that actually has, let’s say, five or six people and an office front somewhere. No offense gang, but it’s sort of like six of one half a dozen of the other. You have the self proclaimed disruptors that come out with a marketing strategy of telling you how everybody else in the industry sucks. And the whole damn thing is broken. But yet they’re somehow superior because their methods are just so radical and different. And there’s a quote that’s largely attributed to George Orwell, I don’t know that he ever actually said it or wrote it. But the quote itself is true, which is, in a time of universal deceit, speaking the truth is a revolutionary act. There is nothing disruptive in the market about just simply coming out and telling the truth. But as I’ve said before, if your key marketing strategy is this differentiation, marketing of a bygone era of our competitors all suck. Let me tell you why we’re so special and different. I can promise you you’re not currently making the kind of revenue that you actually want. Want to make? There’s nothing avant garde, or disruptive about pointing the finger at all of your competitors and going? Yeah, you see all those guys over there, they all suck, but we’re great, especially when you’re doing the same thing. Now you may be labeling it different. You may have found some kitschy or clever nomenclature that you’ve put around it. But if you’re doing the same third party contingency based bullcrap, as everybody else, I’m not really sure that you have the right to say well look at look over here and our direction and how much better we are. So okay, on the one side, you’ve got the the market disruptors, I want to tell you where we’re at the whole industry is broken. And it’s largely a junk pile, but we’re the best of the bad situation. Then you have other people that are stuck in the more traditional model of the carrot in the stick, I’m going to tell you that our jobs are better. Our the companies, the client companies that we engage with are superior, they have brand recognition, I’m going to tell you that our candidate pool is far superior, we dig under rocks, and we find people that are living in caverns, they don’t have LinkedIn, they don’t have Facebook, they’re not working with other recruiters. They have been living in a subterranean hole, like mold people and you’re not gonna find them literally anywhere else except with us. Okay, it reminds me of like, walking into an ice cream parlor. And having the clerk tell you, okay, we’ve got regular vanilla, French vanilla, or vanilla bean. Now, which ice cream would you like? And you’re standing there at the counter going? Well, I really came in here to get mint chocolate chip. And the clerk says, Oh, no, we don’t have that. You can get the vanilla, the French vanilla or the vanilla bean. And it’s like, well, hell, it’s all vanilla. There may be some subtleties and some nuances as to the exact flavor profile of the vanilla, but it’s still vanilla ice cream. Which leads me back to the posts that I saw on LinkedIn. And my pond durations around why this person was struggling to fill a couple of positions that seemed to be just open and shut. Easy does it. People have more freedom, and more choices. Now when it comes to gigging if they want to freelance if they want to try out self employment for themselves, there are so many more platforms and strategies that are available to the general public than there ever have been. And they’re legitimate vehicles to try out. So you can go to places like Upwork, Fiverr,, there are many others. And there are some that are very niche based depending on whether you’re it or you’re creative, or you have some other type of service specifically that you’re wanting to offer. There are the major ones that sort of take on a lot of different freelancers and types of work. And then there are some that are very niched in specifically to different fields. The point I’m making is, candidates and job seekers have more opportunities and vehicles at their disposal than they ever have had in the past. And I think the days of like, well, I don’t want to be my own agent, I don’t want to appear desperate, I don’t want people to really know that I’m looking like, I want to have an ear to the ground. And I want to know what’s going on. But I don’t want anybody to know that I’m doing that. I think a lot of those days are over and done with so much gets written and bandied about regarding negative behavior on the part of recruiters. But there’s negative candidate behavior, too. I mean, it’s it’s a two way street and a lot of cases. And I can remember candidates who would do that kind of thing to me, when I was doing third party contingency based staffing, they’d say like, hey, if you ever find x, y, and z, or if there’s ever an opening at company, ABC, I would really like to hear about it. But then whenever an opportunity like that would come up, they would always say no, they’d always have some flimsy excuse about why they didn’t want to interview for it, or why they didn’t want to submit their resume. And it took me some time to catch on. But there just are those people out there that are tire kickers, and they’re curiosity seekers. They like to know what’s going on in the market. They like to know who’s hiring and what’s happening, but they don’t want to do the research themselves. They want you to do it for them. Meanwhile, there’s no money that’s changing hands in this deal. It’s kind of like you’re a free repository of information for this person. Well, guess what? There’s an internet for that. So if you want to know what’s going on in the market, you can check that out for yourself. That’s also I think, a reflection on the more transactional nature of work itself. You know people in other parts of the world, like it’s not just a gig economy, per se, it’s also a global gig economy so that if you are looking at a particular price point and you’re like, Well, alright, this is all I can afford to pay, it may not be that somebody local to you, especially if you’re in some huge metropolitan city, they may not be able to meet your budget, but somebody in another part of the country or another part of the world, might be completely happy with whatever your budget is. And so I think playing coy and standing in the corner going, alright, well, I want a staffing agency to approach me or I want a staffing agency to pitch ideas to me, I want a staffing agency to present me to a potential hiring manager so that I get to stand back and be very passive and nonchalant about all of this, a lot of that is from a bygone era, and it’s dying off. So thinking about this person having difficulty filling entry level, reasonably paying positions at a good company, it’s not a wonder on the surface. To me, it was like Gosh, why, why the struggle, but there’s so much competition out there. Well, we’ll use admin clerical jobs as an example, just as a handy example, if somebody is wanting to be a virtual assistant, they have all of these different platforms that they can use, they don’t have to go through a staffing agency, they don’t have to be a temp in the traditional sense anymore, they can get on a platform like Upwork, or Fiverr, or Freelancer and say, here’s my qualifications. Here’s the type of job that I’m looking for. Here’s the pay range that I have in mind. And then figure out if there’s somebody out there that’s looking for someone with their skill set, they can be more active and approach employers that have ads posted, or they can be passive and wait for an employer to approach them. But they’ve really cut out the middleman, so to speak of the third party staffing agency that’s sitting in the background like Alright, well, we want to get paid as the middleman. I’m going to connect Robert, the hiring manager with Bob the programmer, and then I’ll have a markup and we’ll get paid essentially, to funnel this person through the middle. Well, now sites like Upwork, and Fiverr, and Freelancer are doing all of that stuff, typically at a much lower cost than a third party staffing agencies. So it’s not a wonder, in initially surprised me this person was struggling. But the more that I analyzed it and started picking it apart, I thought, No, it’s not a wonder it’s not a wonder at all. And what is the future of places like that, as we get further into the global gig economy, are those places really going to make it in the long run? You know, and I’m not trying to go full on gloom and doom full on Chicken Little The sky is falling, or the zombie apocalypse is nigh. For me, this is akin in some ways to the discussions I’ve had before about censorship, being the wave of the future on social media, and how if you have built an entire business, like all of your livelihood, your ability to pay your rent, put groceries on the table, take care of your children, if all of those things are predicated on a platform that you do not own or control, and you would be devastated if you got banned or shadow banned, you’re screwed. You need to pivot immediately and have some other means of making revenue so that God forbid, if you did get content off your platform of choice, you would still be okay. And I would say I’m prepared at this point to issue a very similar warning, you know, not not the zombie apocalypse, but just simply some good food for thought here towards people that are in third party, contingency based staffing world. There’s only so much room in the market for people that are all doing exactly the same thing. And let’s face it, you are you are doing the exact same thing. Now you might dress it up in different clothing. But at the end of the day, it really is the same thing. It’s the same basic skill. And as the market continues to change, I believe there will be a contraction and people who maybe are already on perilous footing financially, maybe people who haven’t done enough financially to survive a storm, they’re just simply not going to make it and definitely companies who have been stubborn and have refused to change with the times you know, if they’re still out there doing the carrot and stick marketing of we only work with candidates that live under a rock and they have no social media presence or we have candidates that are exclusive to us. They won’t represent themselves they won’t work with any other agencies. The only way to get to them is through us like in some weird new form of extortion if they haven’t moved on from That if they haven’t been able to see the writing on the wall is how as to how much has changed, they’re definitely not going to make it new, I have a very good track record on predicting failure, some sort of putting my you know, carnac the great here holding the paper up to my forehead going, if they’re still doing that kind of crap, they are going to fail, I would give it I’d say within I would be I’d be willing to say with within a year, but definitely within two years. Third Party contingency staffing agencies that are still marketing in that archaic asinine way are not going to be around in the next 12 to 24 months. So I want to leave you with something positive, I don’t just want to sit here and and pee pee on your parade. If you’re in a situation where let’s say you’re working at one of those firms, and what I’m telling you is hitting all the right notes, you know, in your spirit and in your gut that what I’m saying is true. This is a great an opportune time to start feathering your nest, figuring out what your skills are and whether or not you yourself want to join the gig economy. Or maybe you want to move in a different direction and get into corporate HR somewhere maybe you want to get with a more innovative progressive firm that isn’t doing the carrot and the stick marketing are that isn’t, you know, making play that they’re progressive by doing all this bs differentiation, marketing that’s not at all different. It’s it’s a good time to be thinking in that direction. I’m not saying go quit your job today, rip the band aid off run for the hills, a Go go go with the mole people prepare for the zombie apocalypse. I’m not saying that. My advice to you is just simply to think, consider your future. Consider what’s going on with the economy and consider the economic trends. Look at the general direction that things are going in. And it especially if you’re trapped in a job like that and you’re already not happy. You know, if you’ve got a hard driving boss that doesn’t treat you well or they’re making you come in like COVID be damned. Bad weather be damned. You need to come here and be asked and seen in the office so we can surveil you all the time. Or conversely, we will allow you to work from home but we’re gonna monitor your computer all day long, and we want you to be on 20 different asinine zoom calls throughout the week. If you’re tired of that, and you’re burned out with it, there is no better time than the present to start thinking about what your options are for the future. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share it. If you haven’t already. Take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review for us on iTunes. Bye for now.

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