New Bullhorn Report: More Than 75 Percent of Staffing and Recruiting Firms Met or Exceeded Revenue Goals in 2016

Annual Trends Report Shows Industry Optimism Despite Global Economic Uncertainty and Talent Shortages

BOSTON – FEB. 14, 2017 – Bullhorn®, the cloud computing company that helps staffing and recruiting organizations transform their businesses, today announced the release of its “2017 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report: Above and Beyond Business as Usual,” which found that more than 75 percent of staffing and recruiting firms met or exceeded their revenue goals for 2016. Overall, the report showed that the vast majority of staffing and recruiting professionals felt bullish for 2017, despite swelling threats of global economic uncertainty and talent shortages.

Compared to 2016, staffing and recruiting professionals said they expected an even more profitable and productive 2017, marked by growth from temporary placements driven by repeat clients facing talent shortages in key sectors. Eighty percent of respondents said they anticipated some revenue growth, and 17 percent expected revenue growth of more than 25 percent.

Increasing profitability and driving revenue topped the list of staffing and recruiting priorities in 2017, ranked by 56 percent and 47 percent, respectively, as primary goals. Achieving financial stability took precedence over branch expansion plans, as firms also indicated acquisitions and offshore partnerships among lower priorities.

Key findings include:

  • Differing perspectives on global economic uncertainty. Respondents overwhelmingly said domestic issues outweighed global concerns. Overall, the lowest ranked areas of concern correlated to international affairs, including currency fluctuation, international trade, refugee displacement, and Brexit. Three quarters said they’re “indifferent” or “not concerned” about Brexit or refugee displacement – 75 percent and 72 percent, respectively – and more than half – 55 percent – expressed “low concern” about international trade – despite the fact that global market shifts could negatively impact domestic hiring plans
  • Dividing thoughts on the new presidential administration. Following the contentious 2016 U.S. presidential election, staffing and recruiting leaders remained divided on the impact of the Trump administration. The percentage of respondents who said they’re “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” almost equaled the number who felt “indifferent” or “not concerned” – 48 percent to 51 percent, respectively. On the other hand, 71 percent of staffing firms said they’re “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the potential disruption to their businesses sparked by healthcare policies and regulations, and 35 percent said they’re “very concerned” about it.
  • Increasing challenges of talent shortages. Sixty-one percent of staffing and recruiting professionals said shortages of qualified talent represented one of their biggest expected challenges of the year. Information technology skills dominated the list of skills shortages most reported by recruiters. Engineers and developers, especially those specializing in Java, topped the list of hardest-to-find skills.
  • Tapping into existing and new clients for revenue growth. Nearly 80 percent of staffing and recruiting firms said more than half their revenue would come from current accounts. The majority of North American staffing firms – 57 percent of those surveyed – anticipated that revenue from new clients would account for less than a quarter of total revenues.
  • Focusing more on clients than candidates. Ninety-two percent of respondents said they provided “good” or “excellent” service to clients and 86 percent to candidates, which showed that staffing firms are marginally more focused on serving clients than candidates.
  • Neglecting internal databases for untapped candidates.Staffing and recruiting  professionals ranked existing internal candidate databases as the best source for identifying quality candidates, but nearly 60 percent said those databases accounted for less than half of their placements.
  • Lacking key performance metrics to keep business. More than one-third of staffing and recruiting firms said they didn’t measure client satisfaction, and less than half didn’t measure candidate satisfaction, which suggested that companies could be blindsided by negative feedback and lost business.

Bullhorn’s seventh annual North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report is the result of a global survey conducted among 1,440 staffing and recruiting professionals from December 2016 to January 2017. The findings spotlight the industry’s take on the current staffing landscape, outlook on future performance, essential metrics to track, and industry best practices. The survey data was broken down by firm size, recruitment type, industry served, and job specialization. Staffing and recruiting professionals use this report to learn more about industry trends and compare themselves to their peers.

To download the “2017 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report: Above and Beyond Business as Usual” for free, visit

About Bullhorn

Bullhorn is the global leader in CRM and operations software for the staffing industry. More than 7,000 staffing companies rely on Bullhorn’s cloud-based platform to drive sales, build relationships, and power their recruitment processes from end to end. Headquartered in Boston, with offices around the world, Bullhorn employs more than 600 people globally. The company is founder-led and backed by Vista Equity Partners. To learn more, visit or follow @Bullhorn on Twitter.