Press release

PRO Unlimited Announces Quarterly Labor Market Trends Report for the Modern Workforce

Sponsored by Businesswire

PRO Unlimited, the modern workforce management solutions provider, today announced its quarterly labor market report, which examines trends in the modern workforce (i.e. non-employees, contractors, consultants). The data is based on year-over-year comparisons across PRO’s robust database of 30 billion data points and highlights key trends, such as hiring volume across titles and industries.

“With the expansion of remote work opportunities and a tightening of workforce supply, the battle for talent is top of mind for most business leaders, especially as new ways to attract talent are evolving and companies are expanding initiatives within technology and diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Dustin Burgess, Senior Vice President – NorthStar HCM at PRO Unlimited. “Navigating this critical and highly complicated ecosphere requires access to current, relevant and reliable market data and a willingness to deploy new technologies and strategies to access and attract the right talent at the right time.”

As the economy begins to emerge from the pandemic shutdowns and employment uncertainty, the landscape shows opportunities across all major skill categories in a still-volatile contingent labor marketplace. To help organizations better understand the current and future state of the market, PRO analyzed billions of data points for its latest Labor Market Report, comparing data before, during and “after” peak COVID, looking across industries, job titles, and hiring processes for trends and related insights.

Key observations and findings include:

  • Recent Contingent Hiring Volume Is Stronger Than Pre-Pandemic: On average, organizations have seen a 20% increase in hiring when comparing Q1 2019 versus Q1 2021. Figures vary widely across industry, however, with healthcare hiring currently approximately 147% of pre-COVID levels, while life sciences sits at roughly 83%.
  • Hiring Process Volatility Has Stabilized: Between March and December 2020, many processes were disrupted and exhibited spikes or dips well outside their normal variance. However, as of 2021, this volatility has largely stabilized, reflecting a return to normal in this area of contingent hiring.
  • Tight Candidate Supply Is Shifting the Market: As unemployment has returned to relatively low levels, the volume of candidates submitted per request has trended downward, reaching a new low in 2021 Q2. In this landscape, timely sourcing, enhanced benefits (including remote/hybrid roles) and unique job opportunities will become increasingly important to employers as they seek to attract candidates.
  • Position Withdrawals Are on the Rise for Select Roles: In the first half of 2021, candidate withdrawals have been trending upward, particularly for high-demand, specialty roles such as application engineers and net developers. These candidates likely have multiple offers, so streamlining hiring processes and offering competitive wages will be critical to filling these roles.

Contingent Workforce Industry Spend by Job Category

According to PRO’s analysis, below are some observations of the areas where the following types of organizations use their non-employee labor:

  • Consumer Products: 43% in marketing; 26% IT

    • Top 3 Marketing Roles: Designer, Editor, Intermediate Graphic Designer
  • Energy: 49% manufacturing, 30% in engineering and IT

    • Top 3 Manufacturing Roles: Construction Manager, Site Supervisor, Safety Advisor
  • Finance/Business Services: 64% engineering and IT

    • Top 3 Engineering and IT Roles: Software Engineer II, Developer I, Software Engineer III
  • Life Sciences: 30% operations, 25% clinical/ scientific, 25% engineering and IT

    • Top 3 Operations Roles: Case Manager, Reimbursement Specialist, Project Manager
  • Technology: 34% engineering and IT, 29% marketing, 15% operations

    • Top 3 Engineering and IT Roles: GIS Technician, Software Engineer, Service Technician

Rate Growth by Sector

Analyzing pay rates by sector in Q1 2021, technology pay rates had decreased for the first time since the pandemic occurred and healthcare rates were still on the rise. In Q2 2021, we see technology’s pay rates staying at the same level as Q1 and healthcare pay rates returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Notable findings include:

  • Healthcare: Despite the Q2 2021 dip, pay rates have still grown the most of any sector since 2018, with 2021 Q1 having the highest peak in average pay rate. IT pay rates within healthcare have grown by 26% since 2019 Q1.
  • Finance: Although there was a 29% increase from 2019 to 2020, the increase from 2020 to 2021 so far has been only 3%. The sharp increase from 2019 to 2020 was largely due to the hiring of more senior and consultant roles as organizations scrambled to become more digital while adapting to the pandemic work environment. So far in 2021, the complexity of the roles has not increased as drastically, which is why the rate growth is more modest.
  • Life Sciences: Pay rates have been relatively stable since 2019, with slight fluctuations quarter to quarter. Life sciences organizations are known for having large populations of blue-collar workers, which keeps the overall industry average pay lower. However, clinical and research roles within life sciences organizations have seen a steady 6% annual growth since 2019.
  • Tech: This sector experienced a small spike in Q4 2020, but 2021 pay rates remain in line with what we saw in 2020. Within tech companies, engineering roles saw a 6% increase YoY while IT roles saw a 10% decrease.

PRO’s report leverages actionable intelligence and insights culled from its aggregation, cleansing and anonymization of data across a variety of internal and external data sources, including hundreds of client programs globally.

You can learn more about the quarterly labor market findings by downloading the full PRO Unlimited report here.

About PRO Unlimited

Servicing hundreds of the world’s most recognizable brands, PRO Unlimited offers modern workforce management and a partner ecosystem supported by data, software, intelligence and services to meet your flexible workforce needs. PRO’s Modern Workforce Management Platform can adapt quickly to regional or industry economic shifts, and provides the speed, scale, flexibility, transparency and expertise to serve as the holistic platform for the modern workforce. Headquartered in San Francisco, PRO has helped global brands and organizations achieve operational and financial success for more than 30 years. For more information, visit and follow the company on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.