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Nearly everything about the workforce has changed as a result of the pandemic. On top of all of this change is a crippling talent shortage made worse by the current state of affairs. There are many articles out there on the impact of this, but the majority of them focus on assignment-based labor who work in an office – such as technology talent, accountants, recruiters and more.

Yet those who are feeling the brunt of today’s difficult climate are actually those who manage shift-based workers. At the site level, supervisors are in desperate need of individuals who can keep their businesses running. This includes plant workers, drivers, nurses, security personnel, hospitality labor and call center workers.

Shift-based, high-volume staffing is vastly different from finding traditional, assignment-based workers, and the following three traits in particular are making it increasingly difficult for businesses to get the people they need when they need them.

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It’s fast. The environment in high-volume staffing is incredibly fast-paced. The labor needs at the site level fluctuate daily, making it difficult to plan for and resulting in a lot of last-minute activity. For example, depending on the volume of orders that come in, labor needs at a manufacturing plant or warehousing facility can change significantly from day to day. Similarly, the need for teachers in a school district can change each day depending on call-offs, often with hours to spare or even new needs that arise midday.

It’s complicated. High-volume staffing is much more complex than managing assignment-based, white-collar labor. By far, the biggest reason for this is that the rate rules are extremely complex. Rates can vary widely due to a number of shift differentials, including weekend rates, night allowances, late show penalties, split shifts and more. Companies must diligently track who’s working for them on which shifts and apply rate rules accordingly.

It’s competitive. The skilled worker shortage is a huge issue globally regardless of worker type, and complicating that in the United Kingdom is a tightened labor market due to Brexit. Specific to shift-based workers, this environment can lack visibility into when they’re working and what they’re making. The experience for both staffing agencies and workers themselves is critical in attracting talent.

How well businesses can compete for shift-based talent is becoming a differentiator for businesses. Applying the same process across both assignment- and shift-based contingent labor isn’t sufficient. With increased restrictions due to rising health concerns looming, companies must act quickly to ensure their staffing processes can keep up with demand, accommodate complexity and attract talent.

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