Back and Forward: Chandra Pappas

Executive vice president at staffing company Nelson on workforce strategy

Back Article Feb 26, 2018

Chandra Pappas, executive vice president at staffing company Nelson offers her insight into workforce strategy. For more from Pappas, check out “Strength in Numbers” in our March issue. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll email you when it’s available online.

What’s the biggest change in the staffing industry in the past year?

The world of work is evolving rapidly. The proliferation of companies like Uber and Upwork has resulted in our new gig economy. Expectations of both employers and workers are shifting – and many employers struggle to adjust their workforce strategy quickly enough to capitalize on opportunity. Companies rely on staffing firms like Nelson to foresee the impacts of these changes and provide consultative, strategic workforce solutions for both short/long-term needs and overall planning.

In 2011, Staffing Industry Analysts quoted Nelson founder Gary Nelson’s prediction that in 2020, more companies would outsource functions formerly covered in-house. This has already proven true, and flexible work arrangements are now the norm. Nelson’s recent Workplace Trends Survey revealed that 72 percent of California employers offer some type of flexible work arrangement.

McKinsey estimates that up to 30 percent of workers in the U.S. and Europe engage in independent work; this barely scratches the surface of flexible opportunity. These numbers will continue to rise, even among workforce segments – such as the C-suite – formerly immune to gig-economy-related changes. However, companies will need to be cognizant of who shoulders the employment risk burden when engaging contingent workers.

What do you foresee as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come? 

Chandra Pappas, executive vice president at staffing company Nelson

Unemployment rates are at historic lows – between 3.1 percent and 4.6 percent in Sacramento-area counties. This is essentially considered full employment, which means staffing companies have to adapt strategies to sourcing and attracting talent, especially passive talent (people not actively looking for a new role).

To facilitate this strategic shift, staffing companies are developing and implementing technology-based solutions to more efficiently find candidates with unique skill sets, react more quickly to demand changes, and better use data and analytics to predict performance success. The rollout of these solutions will continue to shape our industry throughout 2018 and beyond.

A challenge for many in the staffing industry will be keeping services personal and consultative while leveraging technology as a supportive tool. Despite playing a more significant role in talent acquisition and management, technology is not a substitute for personalized service and consultative expertise. Successful staffing companies will employ a balanced approach, understanding the strength in relationship development and personal touch to find and build networks of top talent. Finding this balance while controlling costs (and offering services at an affordable cost) will also be a challenge.

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