|Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century|
Flexible Staffing Arrangements
A Report on Temporary Help, On-Call, Direct-Hire Temporary, Leased, Contract Company, and Independent Contractor Employment in the United States
Susan N. Houseman
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many managers turn to flexible staffing arrangements during periods of downsizing, in part to avoid head count limits imposed by their corporate office. The Upjohn Institute survey, which was representative of private sector employment in the country, found little evidence to support this hypothesis. This phenomenon may be more important in very large, bureaucratic organizations. Christensen reports that 81 percent of the companies using direct-hire temporaries, 62 percent using agency temporaries, and 38 percent using independent contractors cited the need to avoid head count limits as a reason for using these staffing arrangements. Twenty-six percent of respondents in the Conference Board survey cited avoiding head count limits as a reason for using contingent workers.
Despite reports of increased training of workers by temporary help agencies (Stamps 1997), evidence from the Upjohn Institute survey suggests that such training plays only a minor role in firms' decisions to use temporary help workers. In that survey just 5 percent of employers using agency temporaries stated that savings on training costs were an important factor in their decision to use these workers.