Owner of Denham Resources Kathy Bray and her son, Vice President Joe Denham, in their offices in Fresno. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
If you’re looking for an indicator on the direction the economy is going, the temp industry is a good place start.
The election of Donald Trump has bolstered the confidence of the business sector, and the upward trend is also spilling over to the labor market.
With the national unemployment rate at 4.1 percent and solid job growth, the economy shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and the job market is pushing employers to retain its high-performance employees and attract the most qualified workers.
PrideStaff, a national staffing agency headquartered in Fresno, has been placing people in both blue- and white-collar employment positions since it was founded in 1978. The company started franchising the concept in 1995.
PrideStaff just recently opened two new office locations, giving it 89 locations nationwide. It has averaged 18-25 new offices a year for the last three years.
Along with winning numerous awards in its field, PrideStaff was also named the winner of the Fresno Bee’s People’s Choice Award in the Employment Agency category.
Sean Akin, strategic partner for PrideStaff in Fresno, says that since ours’ is an agricultural based economy, there are a lot of sectors following the agricultural chain in the area that need workers.
“There’s always influxes in every business, so that’s what we help them with,” Akin said. “That’s why our industry is growing. It’s so expensive to hire candidates and it’s hard to find candidates with unemployment at an all time low. We’re the middlemen. We help the company find talent faster and cheaper, and we also help candidates find jobs and help both parties save time and money.”
Akin says that since Fresno is a heavily populated area in the middle of California, and with large employers such as Amazon and Ulta coming in, the Fresno area is seeing a shift towards technology, distribution, warehouses, and manufacturing.
On the national level, with the unemployment rate so low, talent pools are getting smaller but recruiting companies are getting bigger because they are having a harder time finding talent.
While people many people may not have known what a “recruiter” was 10 years ago, Akin says that it’s a position that people are more familiar with now.
As opposed to the baby boomer generation who were more used to reading the newspaper, making calls or knocking on doors for job opportunities, which Akin says companies see as a distraction from their day-to-day operations, tech savvy millennials are more inclined to use staffing agencies.
Akin says that Fresno is becoming a place where people want to be and that along with population growth, there will also be a lot of business growth.
“I see a lot of people coming in for school and staying here,” Akin said. “It is more affordable to live here and the city itself is growing. I’m not really worried of a mass exodus of companies leaving the Fresno area. These two mega-companies coming in [Amazon and Ulta] are not spending hundreds of millions of dollars if they’re not sure that Fresno will stay strong and support them.
Another local staffing agency that has seen more local companies hiring more workers is Denham Resources.
Denham Resources is a family owned company that has specialized in executive recruiting, office staffing, and human resources consulting since its founding in 1970. The owners pride themselves on their customer service.
Owner Kathy Bray, wife of CEO Dave Denham and who has worked with Denham Resources since its opening, says that even though 2017 has been their best year since opening, the executive recruiting rates have stayed constant because companies are trying to be prepared in case of another recession like the one ten years ago..
“There’s a huge candidate shortage,” says Bray. “There are not many people looking for work. Many employers are afraid of another recession so they are trying to keep their costs down. If you keep your costs down you’re more likely to keep your labor.”
The confidence felt by businesses since the 2016 presidential election has local companies hiring more, and Bray said that 47 percent of people getting jobs are direct hires.
Joe Denham, vice president and son of Dave and Kathy, says that most of the jobs they find for people are permanent positions.
“More than half of the people that go out on temp jobs end up getting hired,” Denham said. “Even if a company thinks it will be a temporary position, often times they like the person and they fit so well and it becomes a permanent position.”
Bray and Denham both agree that they prefer to keep their size just big enough to adequately cover counties in the Central Valley and not lose their personal company culture by going national or franchising.
We are what we are, we do what we do, and we know how to do it really well,” Bray said.