Breaking the US: faster, better, stronger leadership in a new world
It’s been a busy few months for APSCo OutSource, its members and clients. We’ve hosted and attended a range of informative events, welcomed new members, Trusted Partners & Strategic Partners and, of course, celebrated the return of the APSCo Charity Ball following a Covid-related break.
Our own Managing Director, Melanie Forbes also attended the North America SIA Executive Forum, Faster Better Stronger: Leadership in a New World where she delved into the variations in the US and UK outsourcing models, key trends impacting the market and what opportunities there are for the growth of global solutions.
So, what were the main takeaways of the conference?
Here’s what Mel had to say:
My purpose in attending the US conference was to carry out my own discovery of market trends, and the next “big thing” in the outsourcing world which will invariably arrive on our own shores in the not-too-distant future. The insights shared in the sessions and in my conversations with many of our strategic partners proved highly informative. Perhaps unsurprisingly, hybrid working, embracing, and managing change, leadership in a remote work world and using technology to gain efficiencies and create business success, dominated much of the conversations.
There was a general agreement that the pandemic has impacted the pace of transformation and it would appear that the US & UK staffing and outsourcing fields are broadly facing similar challenges following the pandemic; namely acute skill shortages, the Great Resignation, difficulties around candidate attraction, engagement and retention. Experts from both locations also cited current difficulties navigating the plethora of tech applications for both outsourcing providers and their customers.
What did stand out in terms of the differences between the two countries is the use of direct sourcing in MSP models. The UK has been delivering a direct sourcing market - often referred to as Hybrid Managed Solution - for the past seven or eight years, so it’s generally embedded in many MSP programmes now. In comparison, the US is only just starting to create direct sourcing programmes. Why the difference? It could be a case of nuances in buying behaviour from US clients or even recruitment capability of the outsource providers. There appears to be no clear picture at the moment. Whatever the reason, though, US firms can certainly learn from UK peers the merits, pitfalls and techniques in driving a direct hiring model. And with the States home to an abundance of innovative tech that can support the evolution of managed services, there’s also plenty those in this market can bring to the table for direct hiring discussions.
M&A activity is also seeing an explosion of activity both in the US & UK, particularly across the staffing sector as businesses emerged from the impact of the pandemic into a tsunami of requirements and customer demands. Much of this investment activity is being driven by a combination of desire to strengthen a firm’s portfolio, bolt-on products and services to compliment or diversify and expand geographically. What I will say, though, is it’s clearly a buyers’ market.
It was great to spend time with our partners – including SIA – at the Forum and I enjoyed meeting with the US counterparts of our some of our UK members and Trusted Partners, Allegis Global Solutions, AMS, DZConneX, Guidant Global, High5, Work Llama, and People 2.0 to delve into the future of the US outsourcing market.
It is not yet clear what the ‘next big thing’ is, however, it is evident that the organisations that find innovative and sustainable solutions for their customers to overcome skill shortages, reskilling, diversity and inclusion will be the ones that come out on top.
Read about the latest APSCo OutSource news in our most recent newsletter available here.