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Dispelling common misconceptions about staffing services

Craig Taylor

What is a staffing service? When there is a need for qualified personnel to fill a position immediately, a staffing service is a great resource for just about any type of company. Essentially, a staffing service is a service that matches the labor needs of its corporate clients with individuals who have the skill sets necessary to meet those needs.

There is a lot of misconception about what a staffing service entails, and many people’s opinions are not true. A staffing service is a great source of qualified employees who are ready to work when a client calls. Most staffing services offer three programs to fit a client’s needs: temporary employee, payroll only, and temporary employee to hire (temp to hire). The definitions of each are as follows:

• Temporary employee: This option is for clients in need of an employee for a short period of time, or the client does not want to have the burden of payroll costs, taxes and workers compensation expenses. This can range from four hours to however long the client needs this employee.

• Payroll only: This option is a great value for clients who have someone in mind for a position but want time to evaluate the hiring decision. Since the staffing service has not worked to locate the employee, the bill rate to the client is lower. The applicant remains the staffing service’s employee while they are on the staffing service’s payroll, which allows time for the client to evaluate his or her decision.

• Temp to hire: If a client needs to fill a regular position, the staffing service will send a qualified employee to work in the position for a period that is designated on that staffing service’s client agreement (this can range from 320 hours to 540 hours). This allows the client and employee to evaluate the situation and determine the relationship. Temp to hire allows clients time to evaluate their business without risking the cost of hiring employees they may not need.

Now that there is a better understanding of what a staffing service entails, let’s look at the trends we are seeing in this industry.

Staffing service trends

In 2010, U.S. staffing companies created 401,000 jobs, employing roughly 2.6 million workers. The staffing industry experienced a record growth last year of 18.4 percent over 2009. Many experts say the recession is over, and they may be right, but companies are still feeling the residual impact.

Due to these outcomes, many companies are turning to staffing services to fill their needs in vacant positions, or positions that they need to fill for a short amount of time. These companies turn to staffing services because of the flexible staffing solutions that they provide to meet increases in demand for their products and services.

Staffing services are also being contracted by these companies because most of these companies are still on hiring freezes. An option for some companies to circumvent mandated hiring freezes is to bring their former employees back through a staffing service.

What employment trends are we seeing in Idaho? Currently, American Staffing is seeing the professional sector increase more than it has since the dot-com boom. We are currently seeing an increased demand for higher skilled employees. Most of these jobs are coming from the service-based industries. We are seeing a lack of concern for entry level positions in companies because other employees can cover the bases, but companies cannot do away with their higher skilled positions.

Agriculture and production positions are at the lowest we have seen for some time. I predict that these will began to pick up when harvest season comes in late August and early September.

The years of 2008 and 2009 were tough for the staffing industry due to the recession, but in 2010 the staffing industry saw an increase in employment needs. I was once told “the way to determine the end of a recession is to look to the staffing industry to see if it is increasing,” and in 2010 the staffing industry did just that.

This column was written by Craig Taylor, president of American Staffing Inc. in the Treasure Valley. For more information, visit

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