Every business day more than two million Americans are employed by staffing agencies. According to the American Staffing Association, 90 percent of staffing employees report that they are satisfied with their jobs. More than half move from temporary assignments to permanent jobs.
Unfortunately, the public is sometimes given a different — and inaccurate — picture of what staffing agencies do and how we do it. A few recent items in the national and regional media have portrayed staffing agencies as fostering low wages and minimal benefits, inappropriately charging for certain services, and routinely putting people in haphazard and sometimes dangerous placements. Centered on a few unscrupulous organizations, such articles unfairly give the staffing industry a collective black eye.
The truth is that it is neither the role nor the goal of staffing agencies to perpetuate low wages, lack of benefits, or ill-chosen placements. The goal of a staffing agency, very simply, is to match the skills of applicants to businesses’ employment needs.
For businesses, staffing agencies offer an alternative to maintaining a fully-staffed, in-house human resource department. Some businesses choose to outsource a portion of their human resource functions — just as they might outsource payroll, marketing, mass mailings, or a variety of other tasks.
The staffing agency advertises jobs for the client and screens and refers qualified candidates. Staffing agencies are also knowledgeable about employment law which protects employers and potential employees from legal issues in the application and employment process. This service is especially helpful to startup companies that are new to hiring and human resources.
Companies often find it less expensive to hire a staffing agency than to conduct a search for qualified employees on their own. With recruiting and hiring being handled by an agency, human resource departments find more time to focus on current employees’ training, performance, professional growth, and job satisfaction.
For job applicants, staffing agencies offer knowledge of the local job market. People who have spent time on a job search understand the saying, “Looking for work is a full time job.” A good staffing agency will be familiar with a variety of employers and can often find opportunities much faster than a job seeker working alone. A good agency will be honest with a job seeker regarding whether qualifications are a match for an advertised opening.
Staffing agencies help applicants with job search, resume building and development, interview skills and workplace skills. In most cases, there is no charge for these services.
An honest staffing agency treats both clients and applicants with respect.
As with any industry in America, the staffing industry has a small percentage of less reputable operators. Job seekers need to do their research as they would with any business agreement. Our advice to job seekers: find a staffing agency with a solid background and good reviews. Be your own best advocate. Contact more than one agency; find the one that you are most comfortable with. Be sure you understand the types of placement available – day labor, temporary placement, temp-to-hire, or direct/permanent placements.
Be assured that the majority of staffing agencies will work diligently on your behalf. Overall, our industry is made up of companies with hardworking people doing their best to contribute to the growth of the economy and the success of the individuals and businesses they serve.