In today’s tight labor market, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a commonly used service. But has it always been this way? Yes and no.

Businesses have always received help from outside sources to secure employees; referrals, for example, were used prior to even the Victorian era. However, organized RPO didn’t become a common concept until the 1970s tech boom in Silicon Valley. Tech companies were growing too quickly to get the talent they needed, so RPO firms were hired to help. Many RPO firms simply sold lists of potential candidates to businesses.

Through the years, especially after the dotcom bubble burst, human resources outsourcing (HRO) became more common due to low overhead costs. RPO became more popular as businesses realized that outsourcing cost less overall, and RPO firms also took on more traditional HR tasks, like screening candidates.

Today, businesses are starting to look to RPO companies for help again. As of February 2019, 7.34 million positions needed to be filled. We can expect to see this recruitment method to evolve further as businesses navigate changing employee needs. Read on to discover the top RPO trends for 2019.

RPO Will Evolve Into New Channels

Traditional RPO will be available in 2019 and beyond, as it has been fine-tuned to meet the needs of modern businesses. RPO firms will continue to offer a successful combination of process, customization, and recruiter expertise to clients. To differentiate themselves from others, these firms will emphasize professional expertise and flexibility.

On the other hand, mega-provider business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions will become more popular for recruiting purposes, especially with larger corporations. BPO solutions rely on technology, prioritizing the process over human expertise.

Agile recruitment services (ARS) will be another new RPO feature of 2019. Businesses who want to their talent acquisition teams in-house will hire ARS services to help with specific events. For example, ARS teams might assist annual job fairs or C-level hiring searches.

RPO Will Complement Data-Based Strategies

Automation and AI have become a huge interest to businesses. In fact, Forrester predicts that by the end of 2019, 40% of enterprises will have automation centers in place. Forrester analyst Michele Goetz notes that she has been surprised that more businesses didn’t already “recognize that AI was a way to get better business results…”

RPO will provide value to companies seeking to implement AI and automation throughout their operations. Top RPO firms are dedicated to using AI and automation to produce data-driven strategies and results, fitting in perfectly with an overarching data-driven business model.

With the help of RPO firms, businesses will be one step closer to fully automated operations.

RPO Will Focus On Total Talent Acquisition

Throughout 2019, the gig economy, in which freelancers take on shorter-term projects for businesses and even work multiple jobs at once, is expected to continue. This change has forced businesses to become more flexible—especially when it comes to hiring.

This year, RPO will trend towards total talent acquisition, bringing together “the outsourcing of the recruitment of contingent workers and permanent staff.” With the help of RPO firms, businesses will no longer need to worry about staffing short-term projects, which have become more and more common, alongside longer-term roles. Both needs will be covered by high-volume recruiting tactics and other tested RPO strategies.

Total talent acquisition will continue to be a focus of RPO firms, throughout 2019 and beyond.

Innovations in the recruiting industry and changes in the employment landscape have evolved the relationship between RPO providers and businesses. In the future, you can expect to see increasingly flexible and scalable RPO services that can adapt to the changing needs of clients in a disruptive environment.

Are you looking for a flexible solution to scale your talent? To learn more about our RPO services, contact us.