Blog Post

Hiring Payroll Professionals: Why Right Now is Both a Challenging Time and the Best Time


A top goal at our recent Apex HCM Align 2018 customer conference was to mine the minds of payroll service bureau owners and managers nationwide to learn their top challenges. This time, the answer was clear: Discussions with more than 100 SBOs revealed hiring as their primary issue.


Multiple recent reports help explain the urgency that payroll firms are experiencing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Employee Summary report, total employment grew by 2.6 million jobs in 2018 and 2.2 million in 2017. The rapid job growth resulted in a dramatic reduction in the unemployment rate to 3.9 percent and a 3.2 percent increase in average wages throughout last year. Another  study found that, given the current state of the economy, the sheer number of job seekers has declined. In a Glassdoor survey of 1,000 sales professionals, 68 percent of respondents said they plan to look for a new job in the next year and 45 percent will begin the search within the next three months. Less than a fifth – 19 percent – plan to stay put in their current sales jobs.


All this boils down to one crucial point for payroll firms: It’s an employees’ market, which means hiring decisions are in the job seekers’ hands – not yours.


Here’s the good news: The rebounding economy and the resulting employment boost means growing opportunity for payroll service and payroll software providers to help companies best recruit, secure and manage those new employees. In fact, according to a Transparency Market Research report, the global payroll and human resources market value hit $17.2 billion in 2016 and is expected to rise to $41.6 billion by 2026. During this time 80 percent of enterprises plan to purchase or upgrade their talent management solutions.


But here’s the hitch: In order to take advantage of the massive growth opportunity, you’ll likely need to boost your employee recruitment game, starting with developing a targeted hiring plan.


“The first step is to develop a profile of your ideal candidate and prioritize the attributes between required or desired,” says hiring expert Lee Salz. “This detailed, written description presents a comprehensive picture of the successful candidate for the role and serves as the basis for the entire sales talent screening program.”


Next, you’ll need to define and follow a hiring strategy based on your payroll service bureau’s most pressing needs and prospective employees’ experience, aptitude and/or attitude. For instance, if your current and projected budget allows for hiring a top producer with a proven track record, you’ll want to target prospects with a great deal of experience in payroll sales. Smaller companies with limited budgets that won’t allow for those high-dollar hires instead should focus on a prospect with less experience but a high aptitude for learning and mastering the job – perhaps a high achiever from a different sales niche.


Then, depending upon your hiring strategy, you’ll need to draw upon the right sources to find the right employees: Paid recruiters if you’re looking for highly experienced candidates; internal network or online job banks if you’re more focused on aptitude- or attitude-based strategy.


For an in-depth how-to guide to help you develop and implement an effective hiring plan and strategy that will land the best payroll professionals, download our latest white paper, “Hiring  Sales Staff for Growth: A Tactical How-To Guide”.