As in other industries, advancing to more senior
staffing company positions appears to be more
difficult for women than men. This can be attributed—at least in part—to the level at which women
tend to enter the industry versus men. Significantly
more men than women started their staffing careers
with a manager title or higher level (38% vs. 17%).
Currently three in four men (78%) are at a manager
level or higher compared with just over half of
Examining Barriers and Challenges
Few staffing professionals, according to ASA surv
results, agree that it is more difficult for a woman
advance in the staffing industry than a man (14%
Perhaps not surprisingly, significantly more wom
agree with this statement (19%) than their ma
The most frequently mentioned barrier
advancement in the industry is the lack of availab
positions or opportunities (19%). Nearly one in fi
staffing professionals (18%) have taken a break fro
the industry at some point in their career. Wom
are more likely to hit pause for maternity leave
to take care of family, while a greater number
men did the same in favor of a job opportunity in
There are also some staffing professionals (13%)
who say they’ve consciously taken themselves out of
the running for career advancement, as well as those
(8%) who say they have no interest in progressing in
Other ASA research confirms that training and
professional development are key factors in retaining
personnel. Overall, more than half (55%) of staffing
professionals agree that they need additional training
to advance in their careers—women (58%) are more
likely than men (49%) to agree with this.
Half of survey respondents (51%) say they have
a professional development plan that supports their
growth as a leader in the staffing industry; fewer
women (48%) than men (55%) have a plan in place.
Looking Toward the Future
Despite some disparities, most staffing professionals say their future in the industry is bright.
The majority (63%) believe their opportunities for
advancement are limitless; however, fewer women
(60%) than men (69%) agree.
And while staffing professionals have a positive
outlook, they don’t necessarily think the professional
road ahead will be an easy one. Overall, only 35%
Analyzing the Demographics
The demographic differences among staffing
rofessionals are like those of employed U.S.
dults overall, with women underrepresented on
arious levels. Women make up about half of the
U.S population, nearly half of the workforce, and
more than half are college-educated—yet they
ccount for a small percentage of leadership posi-ons.
ASA survey results show that female staffing
rofessionals tend to be younger and less highly
ducated, and generally have less experience in
he industry than their male counterparts. Age
may be the simple and most likely underlying
ctor for less education and experience: Women
orking for staffing companies are more likely
han men to be 21 to 34 years of age (26% vs.
7%), and less likely to be age 50 or older (32%
Looking at education, more men than women
n the staffing industry have a college or graduate
egree (72% vs. 55%), while more women in the
ndustry attended a trade school, some college, or
ave an associate’s degree (39% vs. 24%).
As with women across other industries, female
affing professionals are more likely than men to
be in a dual-income household and generally report
having salaries that are less than those of their male
Additionally, women tend to have less experience than men working in the staffing industry,
with significantly fewer (20%) reporting more
than 20 years in staffing versus 30% of men.
Fewer women in the industry also report having
experience managing or supervising employees.
Nearly eight in 10 women (78%) have supervised, compared with nine in 10 (92%) of their
Tracking Entry to the Industry
ASA survey results reveal that word of mouth,
employment ads, and outreach by staffing companies are the top ways female job seekers began their
career in staffing.
Interestingly, there are differences in how men
were introduced to the industry versus women.
More men report becoming aware of staffing
through a friend, family member, or word of mouth,
while more women say they found out about the
industry through a staffing company.
Female managers are more likely than their
male counterparts to have been introduced to the
staffing industry through an employment ad.
of staffing professionals say that “nothing is holding
them back” from advancing in the industry—much
less than a majority. Even fewer women (31%)
mention this sentiment than men (41%).
What do staffing professionals think they need
to advance? More than two-thirds (68%) agree
that mentors and coaches are critical to career
advancement, though only one-third (33%)
have a mentor or coach. According to the survey
Targeting Titles: Few Women Begin as Managers in
the Staffing Industry
A coming issue of Staffing Success
will continue the conversation by highlighting the newly formed women in
leadership interest group, created to
address the challenges and opportunities that women face in the staffing
industry. Learn more about goals of the
interest group (formerly the women in
leadership taskforce), new resources for
women leaders and emerging leaders,
and how you can get involved.
“I’m honored to be leading the new
women in leadership interest group,”
says Genia Spencer, president of Team-People LLC. Spencer notes that both
men and women are encouraged to join
the group by updating their ASA Central
profiles on asacentral.americanstaffing.
net, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
New: ASA Women in
Leadership Interest Group
Demographics: Staffing Industry Gender Differences
OVERALL WOMEN MEN
33% Friend/family/word of mouth 30% 38%
26% Staffing company 29% 22%
20% Employment ad—among managers 22% 17%