Human Resources

Talent returning to West Michigan is boon for staffing firms, too

Some, like iMPact Business Group, also are seeing clients help with relocation costs.

February 26, 2016
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Staffing Firms
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Talent is coming back to Michigan — and that means good things, not only for the Mitten State’s premier industries, but also for the companies that staff them.

And in West Michigan, one of the state’s fastest-growing regions, it’s no different.

“I think, in general, we have a variety of opportunities across all industries,” Elwood Staffing branch manager Laurie Maresco said.

“In West Michigan, it’s not just automotive or one type of something else. I think it’s a great area and people are comfortable here. It’s very accepting and family oriented, and that’s drawn talent.”

Almost across the board, staffing firms in West Michigan have seen increased revenue over the last 12 months, according to Business Journal research.

Elwood Staffing grew by about 28.6 percent, posting a $4 million increase from 2014. Maresco attributed that growth to the company growing along with the industries it services, which include the manufacturing, medical, IT and legal professions.

Kforce Professional Staffing also saw a revenue jump, from $23 million to $25 million — an increase of 8.7 percent. It posted the highest revenue numbers among staffing firms surveyed by the Business Journal.

But the highest growth rate among area staffing firms came from iMPact Business Group, which raised its West Michigan earnings from $15 million to $22 million, about a 46.7 percent increase.

And like Maresco, iMPact Business Group co-owner Matthew Peal attributed his company’s success to the growth of the industries it serves.

“Collectively, we have not had a flat or down year since we’ve opened,” Peal said. “And a lot of that is that we’re a split specialty firm — IT, accounting, finance — and those three disciplines are something like 3 percent unemployment across the board.

“But it’s about finding the right people for those openings, and that’s contributed to our clients’ growth even more than it has ours.”

While companies like iMPact Business Group and Elwood Staffing owe much of their success to the growth of their serviced industries, the aforementioned draw of talent to West Michigan has certainly helped.

Additionally, it appears more West Michigan companies are doing what they can to bring talented individuals to the area.

“Our clients want good talent so they’re willing to pay for relocation to bring people in to work for them,” iMPact Business Group marketing manager Rebecca Reenders said.

“It seems like we’re seeing more clients willing to help with relocation fees to get those good candidates and working with them to get them to the area.”

As the demand for skilled employees in West Michigan continues to grow, Peal noted some staffing firms, including iMPact, are beginning to face some of the same issues as their clients in bringing in new talent.

“We suffer from the same pressures that they do,” Peal said. “We’ve been fortunate to fill more spots than we’ve failed to and, quite frankly, our ability to bring in top candidates requires the support of the entire consumer base we help serve.”

While Grand Rapids is becoming a hot area for young professionals who are just beginning to settle down and maybe start a family, it has yet to become a marquee destination for those looking for their first jobs out of college.

“It’s still a diamond in the rough,” Peal said. “When people graduate and think about the major cities they want to go to and work, Grand Rapids is not usually on that list. You see a lot of Chicago, New York, L.A. (You) hear of those desires to go back to the major metro areas.

“We’re still not on that radar, so our bigger challenge is still to educate people about the area.”

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