Staffing firms – like other professional service providers – rely heavily on client satisfaction and service quality to retain accounts, build their talent pipeline, and differentiate from the competition. As such, NPS can be a leading indicator of revenue retention, growth, and brand differentiation in a crowded marketplace. 

What is NPS?

Net Promoter® Score (NPS) is a client satisfaction and service quality metric based on a single survey question that asks staffing clients how likely they are to recommend your firm to a friend or colleague. Clients respond using a numeric scale of 0-10, ten being extremely likely and zero being not likely at all.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the % of detractors (those who respond with a 6 or lower) from the % of promoters (those who respond with 9 or 10). Click here for a more detailed look at the NPS methodology.

NPS is unique because it offers standardized measurement and reporting on client satisfaction and service quality that can be applied across the staffing industry as a whole, at the brand-level, within lines of business, and even by account manager or recruiter.

Staffing Industry NPS in 2021 – Client Ratings

Staffing firm NPS is a target topic for ClearlyRated & CareerBuilder’s annual Staffing Advantage Report, and in 2021 staffing clients reported an NPS score of 29% (our sample focused on staffing providers in the U.S. and Canada).

Staffing Client Satisfaction – measured as NPS

Year-Over-Year Staffing Industry NPS (Client Ratings)

For reference, global NPS standards classify 50% NPS as excellent and 70% NPS as world-class. And recognizable service leaders like Nordstrom have an NPS of 75% compared to Comcast, a notorious service laggard, whose clients give them a -1% NPS. Click here to learn more about the NPS methodology.

The overall Net Promoter Score for clients of staffing firms has risen significantly, moving from -2% in 2019 to 29% in 2021. This is the highest level of satisfaction seen in the staffing industry since the last recession, and the jump in 2021 is likely similarly correlated to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. It makes sense that in times of uncertainty, staffing firms are taking extra care to serving their clients with diligence and to prove their value. While this year’s 29% benchmark is at a 10-year high, it’s important to remember that this is still “below average” on the scale of global NPS standards. Staffing and recruiting firms continue to have opportunity to set themselves apart by delivering value and exceptional service.


Staffing Industry NPS in 2021 – Candidate Ratings

There was no talent study conducted in 2021 due to COVID-19 workplace disruptions. The most recent year for which we have data is 2020. For talent (placed candidate) NPS – the trending data shows a different narrative. Staffing firm satisfaction ratings from talent (18% NPS) in 2020 decreased since our last study in 2018, and in fact rest at a 10-year low when looking at trending data.

Placed Talent Satisfaction – measured as NPS

Year-Over-Year Staffing Industry NPS (Placed Talent Ratings)


2020 was a challenging year for job seekers, thanks to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. As job orders were reduced, staffing firms worked doubly hard to deliver a positive experience and keep talent satisfied, even as the job market underwent a massive reorganization. Staffing firms’ ability to navigate recovery and emerge from this recession is undoubtedly tied to their candidates’ experience working with them. Seek out opportunities to maintain quality relationships with job candidates, to move quickly to re-hire positions that were eliminated, and support remote hiring and remote employment for your clients as well as your talent. Industry leaders are consistently earning 50% NPS (or higher) from their talent, even during this period of economic upheaval. 

How does your firm stack up? 

If you’re not already leveraging NPS at your firm, we hope you consider this article a call-to-action. Not only do client satisfaction, talent satisfaction, and service quality represent opportunities to differentiate in an increasingly commodified service industry, they are fuel for firm growth. 

And if “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” – then you certainly won’t be able to improve it either.

Next Steps

  • Ready to get started with NPS? Contact the ClearlyRated team for insights, best practices, and a tour of our survey platform (designed specifically to support professional services firms).
  • Considering a survey program? Our veteran team of survey experts has compiled a Satisfaction Survey Checklist for Staffing Firms to help you avoid common pitfalls and build a road map for a successful client survey initiative.