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USA: "Midwest Manufacturing Snapshot: Energy Use and Efficiency Policies" report

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back to index backAMERItalk July,  2005

Temp-to-Hire becoming a full-time practice

Temp-to Hire, or Try Before You Buy,” is becoming standard operating procedure for employers seeking more flexible workforces while they continue to await signs of full economic recovery.

To many of its customers, the top assets of the staffing industry are flexibility and access to talent; these customers have made Temp-to-Hire an important element in their business model. The flexibility of Temp-to-Hire allows the company as well as the contractor to gauge an employee's fit before making a commitment to permanent employment. Once they become convinced the business upturn is for real, they'll look first to those temporary workers to fill regular vacancies. Lots of employers have adopted this model; the American Staffing Association (ASA) estimates that 8 million contract workers transitioned to full-time work during the year.

A national survey released recently by ASA offers a unique and comprehensive look at the demands, concerns, and expectations of business customers in interacting with the growing staffing services industry.

The research, conducted by Porter Novelli, included a series of focus groups among a cross section of customers, one-on-one interviews with Fortune 500 buyers, and a national poll of 500 business customers.

The survey shows that business customers draw on a broad range of skill sets from the nation's staffing firms. "Staffing companies are giving their customers what they want," said Richard A. Wahlquist, ASA president and CEO. "Again and again, our customers told us they sought the flexibility to keep staffed up during busy periods. And they view staffing firms as offering an effective means of identifying people who can transition to permanent employees."

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (72%) believe that the quality of temporary employees recruited from staffing companies is the same as or better than the quality of their regular employees. "About half of those customers asked said that their use of temporary and contract employees was an important part of their business model," said ASA vice president Steven P. Berchem, who directed the research project. "Two in five also said they viewed staffing suppliers as 'partners' in their endeavors."

Three of four customers polled expressed satisfaction with the industry's capacity for matching temporary employees to jobs, but some cited it as an area where the focus should be on continuing improvement.

The ASA survey comes at a time when staffing companies in the United States employ an average of 2.55 million temporary and contract workers per day. Temporary help sales in 2004 totaled $63.3 billion. Analysts project that the staffing industry will see even greater growth this year, not only because of growth but because large companies are embracing the concept. Most decisions about staffing services are made by human resources professionals—they accounted for 83% of the poll respondents. At the American Society of Employers Professional Placement Service, we are seeing an increase in the requests for HR Professionals on a temp-to-hire basis.

Source: American Society of Employers -

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