There’s been a piece of big news quietly circulating the staffing industry for the past few days -Indeed has launched a platform called ‘Indeed Flex’ that signals their official entry into staffing.
It’s not really “news” in the traditional sense because it’s being done in relative stealth. No announcements, no splashes. It has reached a few corners (like conversation threads in ASA central) but many people still haven’t heard. As someone who’s been immersed in the staffing technology space for the last five years, I’d like to try and add some context and color to this conversation.
Because there’s a lot more to it than you might think.
Why is Indeed Flex a threat?
Let’s start off with Recruit Holdings. You may or may not have heard of them. They own Indeed, Glassdoor, Workopolis, Staffmark, the CSI Companies, Advantage Resourcing…you get the idea. They’re the 500lb gorilla in the room – no one else is even close. Their trailing market cap at the time of writing was 6.88x that of Randstad – a name more familiar to most.
Indeed acquired a company called Syft last May. At the time they were the leading on-demand staffing platform in the UK. Instead of trying to build their own, Indeed brought the platform to the US (quietly) as Indeed Flex earlier this year. Using an app-based approach, they provided candidates and clients with a more modern experience. They primarily operated in the hospitality and light industrial space across the pond. They intend to start with warehousing, cleaning and retail in the US.
By leveraging candidate smartphones, they can provide significantly better communication than SMS or email which gives their clients faster and more transparent access to talent. This is quite similar to Adecco’s Adia platform and TrueBlue’s Jobstack. There are many more out now but those are probably the names most familiar to the majority. They offer the same value prop to candidates and clients – a significantly better experience.
The major difference between Indeed Flex and all the others is, of course, their access to the talent pool and the data that they’ve collected (primarily from staffing agencies) over the years.
If you couple that depth with the fact that they own the most pervasive job board out there, it paints a stark picture of what the sourcing landscape could become. In fact, it’s already started.
Why did Indeed Flex launch now?
A running joke in tech circles is that it’s not the CEOs, the CIOs, or even the CTOs driving digital transformation this year. COVID has accelerated remote-everything and made things acceptable that we wouldn’t have expected to happen in a decade. I’d expect that Recruit intends to capitalize on this shifting landscape and expand quickly.
In the staffing industry, we’ve seen a marked uptick this year from leaders now realizing that the technology is out there and can be had by traditional agencies. Different strategies as well – leveraging the tech in existing lines as well as starting new brands.
In my opinion, owners who don’t want to take on the challenge of change should plan their exit, because the landscape is evolving more rapidly than ever before.
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