Hiring high-quality staff is challenging for all types of businesses. Whether you’re new in your niche or are a long-standing leader in the industry, you no doubt recognize the importance of good people. Finding the right candidates is time-consuming and often fruitless, especially when competition for talent is high.
To solve the dilemma of recruiting for roles across their companies, many business owners are turning to Chicago staffing agencies for support. Temp or employment agencies connect qualified and pre-screened candidates with the companies that need them.
Instead of sorting through resumes and spending days or weeks on interviews, you can outsource the work. At the same time, you reap the benefits of a reliable and professional workforce. Staffing agencies in Chicago also offer a suite of services, spanning everything from recruiting for high-level positions to placing seasonal and part-time staff.
In this article, we’ll explore what’s happening in the Chicago job market and how staffing agencies can meet your company’s needs. We’ll examine statistics and must-know facts about the employment rate in Chicago, what industries are the most competitive, and how to source the best staffing agency to round out your workforce.
Chicago’s Business Climate
Though improvements have surfaced in recent years, Chicago has a reputation for being supremely unfriendly to small businesses. Its overall grade is a C+ and stems from challenges such as strict licensing requirements, high taxes, and hiring roadblocks.
However, the good news is that times are changing—and Chicago still offers plenty of perks for businesses and workers alike. For example, the economy in Chicago is diverse, and the community features an excellent quality of life to cost of living ratio. Therefore, Chicago is an exceptional place to work and do business.
Jobs in High Demand in Chicago
A range of healthcare and business jobs are in high demand across Chicago. The top ten include:
Of those, roles in Occupational Therapy have the fewest jobs available, making them competitive sectors for applicants. In contrast, projected growth estimates over 40,000 jobs in Home Health will be available by 2024, making it a peak time for workers to change roles.
Essential Facts on the Job Market in Chicago
Running a business in Chicago can be both challenging and rewarding. Looking at the details of the job market in the area can shed light on your company’s potential for growth and expansion. It can also provide perspective on hiring strategies and trends, whether you use an employment agency or not.
Non-farm employment in Chicago was up .6 percent in 2019, with job counts increasing by 1.5 percent at the same time. Not surprisingly, education and health services sectors added the most jobs throughout the year. According to the same report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in the Chicago area dropped from 3.9 percent in 2018 to 3.2 percent in 2019. This could indicate an increase in competition for qualified applicants.
Over 40 percent of jobs that entered the Chicago economy between 2009 and 2013 were temporary jobs. At that point, 63 percent of warehouse workers were in temporary roles.
Throughout Illinois, staffing agencies placed nearly 1.5 million candidates in local jobs. The most popular staffing agency placements were in industrial, engineering/IT and scientific, and office-clerical and admin positions.
Fortune 500 companies like Boeing, Archer Daniels Midland, United Continental Holdings, Exelon, AbbVie, Conagra Brands, and Motorola Solutions call Chicago home. These corporations employ thousands (or more) of workers at locations throughout the city.
According to reviews from employees via Glassdoor, the best places to work in Chicago include Bain & Company, DocuSign, Sammons Financial, VIPKid, Google, LinkedIn, Boston Consulting Group, Trader Joe’s, Salesforce, and many more large and small companies.
For workers in the Chicago area, it’s common to face a commute of nearly an hour. The length earns Chicago the ranking of third-longest commute among the larger cities in the nation. However, surveys find that the commute is less stressful than comparable cities, which is good news for businesses recruiting far-flung workers.
While many cities are expecting growth in the coming decades, Chicago has recently shrunk. The population has dropped consistently for the last few years, and Cook County has seen a negative net migration rate for the last 27 years.
Per the US Census Bureau, Chicago currently has a population of over 2.5 million people, with around 66 percent of those of employment age.
Staffing Agencies in Chicago
With the competitive nature of the employment market in Chicago, it’s understandable that companies are seeking help via talent agencies. The good news is that there are countless agencies to choose from, enabling you to outsource staffing responsibilities with the guarantee of quality candidates.
Plus, per the Illinois Department of Labor, employment agencies must maintain a license with the state to stay in business. Investigation, licensing, and regulatory requirements ensure the protection of both job seekers and business owners. Here we’ll look at what staffing companies are available, how to choose one, and how fee schedules work when working with a temp agency.
What Are the Biggest Staffing Agencies in Chicago?
Some of the biggest names in staffing across Chicago include Toptal, Robert Half, and Adecco. But choosing the right agency for your company’s needs requires some legwork. Not every company will be the ideal fit, regardless of their ranking. We’ll go over how to choose an agency below.
How to Choose a Staffing Agency in Chicago
The best recruitment agency in Chicago is one that offers the services and support your organization needs. You will need to partner with an agency that understands what you’re looking for in a qualified candidate and can source professionals promptly and on budget. Here is what to consider when selecting a company to partner with.
Scope of expertise: While many recruitment agencies offer “general” placements for a variety of industries, your niche may require specific expertise. If you are in the technology sector, for example, finding an agency that recognizes the importance of experience and industry-specific credentials for IT professionals is vital.
Reputation: You should consider both reviews from job seekers and companies when comparing talent agencies. When possible, try to speak with those who have direct experience with the agency in question. Reading reviews can provide insight as well but take those with a grain of salt.
Credibility: In Chicago, employment agencies must maintain licensure. You should investigate the credentials of the temp agency and find out whether there are complaints about the business.
Experience: In addition to expertise in your niche, a temp agency should also offer experts (or an organizational framework) with a strong track record. Inquire about success rates with candidate placement and ask how the agency handles employees that may turn out to be a poor fit.
Range of services: While recruitment is part of the package, temp agency services vary. You may have a specific window during which you can request a different worker, or you may need to pay more to replace someone who isn’t a good fit. Some agencies offer follow-up assistance, emergency staffing coverage, or post-employment support for job seekers and companies alike.
How Are Staffing Agencies Paid?
While temp agency rates vary widely, depending on your industry and their service scope, you can expect to pre-pay for recruiting support. Some agencies work on a commission type basis, where the fees amount to a percentage of the employee’s first-year wages.
Depending on the employee’s role and their agreement with the recruiting agency, they may owe an amount as well. A candidate who invests in finding the proper placement is often appealing to companies, and they may reduce the business owner’s recruiting costs, too.
In other cases, you may be able to pick and choose a suite of services according to your budget. For example, if you need a handful of seasonal employees in a hurry, those costs will be vastly different than the fees to replace a high-level IT professional in a permanent position.
Many business owners worry over the up-front costs of hiring a temp agency. They wonder, is it worth going to a temp agency in Chicago? The answer is typically a resounding “yes.” Outsourcing your recruiting and hiring efforts means more time to dedicate to other responsibilities. With professional support from a staffing agency, you can worry less about your people and focus on the business side of operations.
Chicago’s declining population and competitive employment market can prove challenging for business owners to navigate. At the same time, the healthcare and technology industries continue to grow, proving that Chicago is still an ideal place to live and work.
Recruitment agencies can offer a competitive edge to businesses in the area. Whether you’re just starting out or have a mature company that needs a fresh staff, the right employment agency can boost your business performance.
Partnering with the right professionals can mean an easier time recruiting—and keeping—the high-quality staff you need for a business that will thrive.