The management team of an organization must consider a variety of factors in determining the staffing and manpower needs of the company. Specific factors vary; however, a number of factors are common among most companies. These factors consider both the present composition of the company's workforce and the circumstances with which the company must deal in the future.
Present Staff Demographics
In assessing the present demographics of a company's workforce, the management team should consider the company's type and its organizational structure, including the number of departments and number of employees in each department. Areas of staff strength or challenges are also important considerations, including specialized skills held by one or more employees or departments. The average age of the overall staff or of specific divisions of the company is important as well, especially if a large proportion of the company's staff is nearing the traditional retirement age.
Future Business Projections
Determining whether a business will face increasing or decreasing demand for its products or services is an important factor in forecasting staffing needs. If circumstances point to increased staffing needs, management must decide whether to add permanent staff, either in full-time or part-time positions, or contract with individual workers or staffing firms to create temporary positions. In adding permanent staff, management must decide where and how to locate and recruit suitable job candidates. If the business faces a projected decreasing demand for its services or products, difficult decisions about whether and where to make cuts arise.
Technology and Productivity
Emerging technology also impacts the process of forecasting manpower needs. Adopting technological innovations have decreased the staffing needs of certain companies, and not just in manufacturing. For instance, personal computer stations and laptop computers have largely eliminated the typing pools that formerly existed in a number of large companies. On the other hand, incorporating technological innovations into a work environment necessitates hiring personnel skilled in using the technology, training present staff in using the new technology or implementing a combination of both strategies.
Legislation and Policy
If the company plans to expand internationally, management must decide whether to transfer staff to the new locations and whether to hire local residents to staff some or all of the positions in the company's foreign outpost. A commitment to achieving and maintaining diversity may also drive present and future staffing decisions for the company. This is especially true if the company's mission or policy reflects an intention for the staffing of the company to reflect the population in its main location, branch offices or both. Legislation and governmental policy, such as anti-discrimination laws, also play a role in projecting staffing needs.