Earlier this week Laurie Ruettimann, of The Cynical Girl, asked her readers to talk about their job search. The post comments are great (they always are on Laurie’s blog) but I want to discuss a darker side of the job search that is becoming more and more common: Permanent Temping.
I am not a full time recruiter but I do recruit for positions and I speak with a lot of job seekers who contact me through my blog. What I have heard and seen over and over is that people are stuck in a cycle of going from temp position to temp position. This is true across the board: Fortune 500 companies and small and medium sized businesses.
Temporary staffing isn’t new and it is by no means a bad thing. A temporary job is better than no job. But temporary staffing is reaching into areas of work we haven’t seen before: entry and mid-level professional jobs. Jobs with titles like: Help Desk Associate, Customer Service, and Manager
The reasons vary from Health Care Reform to a shaky economy with some arguing that temp work isn’t all bad because you can learn new skills and build your network.
I understand both sides but this trend ticks me off. Many of the people I have talked with are temping at companies that can definitely afford to increase headcount. Instead, they use temporary workers as a strategy to cut costs but fail to realize they are losing qualified, hardworking and loyal future employees.
Many of the positions now being filled by temps used to be entry level jobs such as an administrative assistant, a recruiting coordinator or helpdesk coordinator. These jobs were considered good stepping stones. You worked in that job a few years and then moved on to bigger and brighter pastures. This is disappearing and being replaced by a new, twisted reality of hopping from job to job with no health insurance or benefits, hoping that someday you will be qualified enough for a permanent job but not so qualified that you can’t find another if you get laid off.
When we choose to permanently staff a team with temps the institutional knowledge, relationships and the skills employees have built and apply at your organization goes out the door. Instead of Joe Smith training his replacement when he moves on in the company, you now have to deal with Joe Temp who has no idea what your organization is like and probably doesn’t care very much because he is out looking for a permanent position.
Putting temporary employees in what used to be permanent jobs, just to save a few dollars is extremely short sighted and takes advantage of people with few options. When some bean counter or efficiency expert (The Bobs) tells you to replace the XYZ team with temps, Just Say No.