Latest study on the subject of “contingent staffing against IT occupations” forecasts the growth of IT staffing segment by 6% in 2016, which may grow furthermore with 6% in 2017, making an approximate reach to $30.9 billion.
A fairly steady growth rate is marked over the last several past years—and is projected to continue in 2016 and 2017 as well—belies an industry in significant flux. This is manifested in part by the continued contrast in operating results among the IT staffing firms, as some large-scale suppliers have been reporting double-digit percentage sales growth while others have experienced declines of similar magnitude. In general, this could be identified as a gradual shift in demand away from generalist staffing firms in favour of companies more specialized in IT staffing. And ergo there are few large and specialized, firms that have sustained impressive top-line growth, at least partially at the expense of their established competitors.
This transfer of market share is more significant in terms of revenue than in volume of hours billed or contractors assigned, as these more specialized firms disproportionately provide higher-skilled, higher-billed IT roles, such as data analytics, cybersecurity, application development and project management. Many of the firms that have exhibited the highest rates of IT staffing growth in recent years have done so in part through the development of specialized practices with subject matter expertise, offering a proven talent pool to address one or more of these emerging IT skill segments.
Parts of the recent economic data and individual company observations signify that the upward wage pressure has begun to increase after being remarkably light—if not altogether absent—through much of this economic expansion. As unemployment in high-demand IT occupations is at very low levels, and the cap on foreign worker visas remains static despite rising application volumes, companies with unfilled positions in critical technology roles have few alternatives but to offer a higher wage to attract talent. While bill and pay rates appear to be moving up roughly in tandem, thus not expanding margins per se, the rising bill rates still drive revenue growth.
It is to be noted that the market size and growth figures in this forecast are specific to temporary staffing, or staff augmentation revenue. Many engagements that have been structured as traditional temporary staffing are transitioning to a managed project or service model, typically using a statement of work (SOW). Because revenue from such engagements is not included in our IT staffing market estimates, a shift toward this model is a headwind for IT staffing growth, but not for companies that are shifting their own business accordingly.