Subadhra Sriram's Blog

Temps Are Now in the Driver’s Seat

It used to be that convincing employers to buy staffing services was a hard sell. Staffing firms had to explain staffing services, and how employers could use them to advantage. It still takes some effort to sell, but the real challenge now is about marketing the contingent advantage to the worker

You’ve heard the phrase “war for talent” ad infinitum. That’s what is fueling the change. In areas of critical skill shortage, it’s the workers that are now in the driver’s seat.  And the workers know it.  Staffing firms, particularly on the professional side, say they are getting orders; the problem is filling them.  So staffing firms more than ever need a strong case to present to the worker.

Buyers, staffing firms are still working for you, of course, but now their primary challenge (and opportunity) is to represent your brand to the people they are trying to recruit for you. Think about it. If you were a staffing firm would you rather represent Google, Facebook or (the recently renamed) Philip Morris?  It comes down to being able to snag the right worker — and they have choices. 

So how these workers perceive a staffing firm — and through them, you — is important. Staffing Industry Analysts asked temporary workers what matters most when it comes to choosing and working with a staffing agency. After “rate of pay” the thing that matters most is “availability/quality of assignment.”

This pattern among contingents is consistent across different industries.  And in a separate survey, these workers also gave anonymous feedback about the companies and jobs in which they had been placed. Overall, they seemed reasonably pleased with their placements — roughly a third of workers expressed unsolicited praise or appreciation. But of course, they would like to see a few changes. The most common requests were increase and improve communication and feedback, increase pay, and offer transition to full-time positions.

So it boils down to keeping the worker happy. The good thing is that there are myriad opportunities for both the staffing firm and client to do so.  It just requires that they align their interests, treating the worker right. The rest follows.


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