Drive Staffing and Recruiting Profits with Niche Specialization

jackknifeThere’s an old saying we all know well: “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

The obvious implication has both pros and cons. It is useful and sometimes necessary to be reasonably adept at many things. Especially where one’s job and career are concerned. However, it can be far more lucrative to be a “master” of ONE thing. The same applies to the staffing and recruiting industry.

It seems that every day there is a fresh article on how fragmented the employment market is becoming. Increasingly; specialized skills, certifications, degrees, training, or experience is required to land and keep a job.

In fact, employment specialists have rightly pointed out that millennial employees of today are likely to have five or more completely different careers during their lifetime. Those career changes will probably also require re-training to be successful. That’s a far cry from their parents or grand-parents that were often in the same career – using virtually the same skills – for decades.

This ever more fragmented, specialized job and career market means two things for staffing and recruiting professionals. More challenges. More opportunities.

What kind of niches should you serve tomorrow?

Niche employment markets have always existed, and many staffing firms have done exceptionally well in exploiting their profit advantages. Yet there are even more opportunities to come. In 2011, according to a massive, in-depth analysis and report from the McKinsey Global Institute, they stated that it will be about 2015 before employment reaches its pre-recession level. That assessment has proven to be pretty accurate. Their analysis also noted that only under the most optimistic of conditions would the U.S. economy return to full employment before 2020 (defined as four percent unemployment or less). You can download the report for yourself HERE.

Even with that somewhat negative assessment noted; there are many bright spots in the employment market of today and into the future. As economists and staffing and recruiting professionals have found, temporary staffing has been one of those bright spots. But there are job niches that offer the potential to take contingent staffing to the next level. Beyond the low-margin business that many staffing firms tend to focus on.

These jobs require special education, skills, training, or certifications. That makes them highly sought after and very profitable for the staffing and recruiting firms who recruit aggressively and have access to the appropriate talent pool.

In a 2011 article, Michael B. Sauter of 24/7 Wall St. (, reviewed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Employment Matrix to determine the top high-growth, high-paying jobs through 2018. You can read the article HERE. These jobs could be the next niche you should explore recruiting and staffing for. They are (in order of least number of jobs to most number of jobs created):

  1. Personal financial advisors, median income of $64,750
  2. Dental hygienists, median income of $68,250
  3. Civil engineers, median income of $77,650
  4. Market research analysts, median income of $60,570
  5. Computer systems analysts, median income of $77,740
  6. Physicians and surgeons, median income of $123,500
  7. Computer applications software engineers, median income of $94,180
  8. Management analysts, median income of $78,160
  9. Accountants and auditors, median income of $61,690
  10. Registered nurses, median income of $64,690

Altogether, these ten job categories represent 1,729,800 new high-demand jobs that will be created. That is nearly 10 percent of the total number of jobs that McKinsey Global says the U.S. needs to create to get back to full employment. What’s more, with an average income for these positions of $76,768 per year, your potential gross profits are far better than that for many contract staffing positions.

But wait, there’s more!

The job categories above represent a wide range of excellent niches for staffing and recruiting firms. But there are other niche-focused employment areas that are ripe for exploitation as well. According to a follow-up analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Employment Matrix, here are seven MORE high-growth niche job categories.

  1. Optometrists, median income of $94,990
  2. Occupational Therapists, median income of $72,320
  3. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists, median income of $76,700
  4. Audiologists, median income of $66,660
  5. Physical Therapists, median income of $76,310
  6. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, median income of $64,380
  7. Biomedical Engineers, median income of $81,540

Just glancing at this second list, it’s plain that all are in the medical field, and will require a four-year or Doctoral degree (except for Audiologists or Sonographers, who typically only require an Associate’s degree). In fact, 10 of the 17 jobs noted are in the health field. You would probably be correct in surmising that the aging of the boomer generation and the impact of the Affordable Care Act are behind these particular high-demand job niches.

How can you leverage niche-focused staffing and recruiting?

Obviously, not all of these 17 job categories may be worth the time and effort required to become a niche staffing specialist. The demand, though high, may still only represent a small number of jobs. Also, to be a strong and successful staffing and recruiting firm in these niches you will have to develop an in-depth understanding of the related job market, candidates, and customers. Equally important, you will need the staffing and recruiting software and systems in place to manage the recruiting, credentialing, and placement of this well-educated and technically savvy group of candidates.

So, are you thinking that perhaps one of these niches is right for you? Could it be an extension of one of your current service offerings? Are you willing to think beyond your current box of service offerings to develop the understanding, the skills, and yes, the talent pool needed to deliver these services to customers?

If so, a dedicated focus on niche staffing could lead to higher margins and profitability for your staffing and recruiting agency.