Temporary employment agencies are filling a vital role in the employment sector. For those wondering whether temporary employment is a good career choice, some of the major benefits are as follows:

The Post-Recession Employment Market: A ‘Temporary’ Adjustment

Temporary employment in America is at an all-time high. Temp employment in the U.S.accounted for 2.9 million workers in 2015, nearly 2 percent of the American working population.

That number is still on the rise. As unemployment continues to drop following the 2008 recession, staffing agencies are expanding their economic role. They deserve credit: Over a third of jobs added since the depths of the recession in late 2009 are attributable to staffing industry placements.

Temporary placements have historically ebbed and flowed with the tide of unemployment, but there is good reason to think that recent trends toward an expanded staffing sector will continue. The 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to three market search theorists who addressed, among other topics, how the transition of hiring to a search-based model has created economic hardships for employers and job seekers alike. Better systems, they argued, would alleviate unemployment.

Temporary staffing agencies are proving as much: They are, in large part, spearheading the development of job placement systems that work within the new economics of worker placement.

Fast Friends in the Job-Search Wilderness

It has been said that looking for a full-time job — is itself a full-time job. It can be a daunting one; many highly skilled professionals are nevertheless under-qualified when it comes to job seeking, especially as hiring processes become less personal and more automated.

Those sitting alone at their computers, sending out résumés, waiting by their telephones for prospect companies to inquire are experiencing firsthand the shift in the hiring economy. Not that cold-calling and showing up at a prospective employer résumé-in-hand are bad ideas; but many companies now require online applications or outsource their hiring processes entirely.

Temporary employment agencies can offer a shorter route to the interview chair. They’re not gatekeepers; their business model works by connecting people who possess the right skills to employers looking for qualified personnel. For job seekers, it’s akin to having a highly qualified job hunter shop the employment market on their behalf for free.

Staffing agencies’ interest in connecting workers with workplaces goes beyond finding the right opportunity: Many firms help applicants create background materials and prepare for interview questions.

Reciprocal Flexibility

Traditional hiring usually involves an implicit commitment on both sides. Although employment-for-life opportunities are much less common than they once were, most employees expect that they will be safe in their positions for as long as they can meet the job criteria. And when employees leave a full-time, salaried position too quickly, they are often asked to explain their hasty departures to subsequent employers.

Temporary employment flips this expectation on its head. Businesses like that they can throttle their commitment to temporary employees up and down as they see fit. Meanwhile, employees have increased freedom to sample the job market, focus on learning new skills and establish work-life balance, all without the stigma that such activities might create for a full-time employee.

Temping is Only Temporary

There can be little doubt that by accepting temporary work, employees open the door for additional job opportunities. Nearly three-quarters of former temporary and contract workers gained their permanent positions while on assignment for a staffing firm.

This is no accident: More and more, employers are utilizing temporary employment agencies for just such a purpose. Since 2000, the average annual turnover rate at American staffing agencies has dropped from over 400 percent to around 250 percent, while the average temporary assignment tenure has jumped from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. In addition, many staffing agencies assist companies in the direct hiring of full-time employees.

For those who are still wondering whether seeking temporary employment will reward them in the long run, only they can decide whether the potential benefits outweigh the opportunity costs.

But for those who do not think it a viable opportunity for career advancement, current market trends are telling a much different story. They would do well to consider it, if only temporarily.

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