By Margaret Hansen
Temp to Perm
Temping was not something that Mike Williams had in mind while working in the restaurant industry. But after a decade, he decided to go back to school to earn a degree. Temping was the most convenient way to earn a paycheck around taking classes. He took a tech job and, upon graduation, accepted a permanent position as a business systems analyst with Georgia-Pacific - the same company he temped for.
"Temporary work was my bridge to the future," said Williams, who was able to prove his worth to the company before getting hired.
He's not alone. About 75% of people polled by the American Staffing Association say it's a way to get a permanent job. For others, it could be a back-up plan if their job's future isn't looking bright.
In the midst of an uncertain economy, Scott Miller, a District Manager with Kelly Services, has seen a large influx of job seekers registering with his agency for the past several months. Some have been laid off; others are employed but nervous, while others are just adding to their job search mix.
"Temporary work may not have been something that they've considered before, but it's an alternative to supplement income while they look for the next opportunity and, in some cases, it leads to directly that," says Miller.
For those who've already been laid off, Miller suggests taking advantage of employee transition services, if available. These services help displaced workers develop their resume, get job prospect coaching and obtain advice to prepare them for the rigors of interviewing. He also recommends taking advantage of the local career center and its free job seeker services.
With temp work, job seekers can find part-time positions and flex opportunities in addition to traditional schedules, and, depending on the client/customer needs, the staffing agency can sometimes provide a work-from-home situation. Staffing agencies often offer benefits to their temporary staff, including vacation and holiday pay, continued learning opportunities, incentive awards and health insurance.
Referred to as contractors, seasonal help, freelancers or temps, 2.5 million people per day are employed by staffing agencies, says the American Staffing Association.