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Are Temp Jobs “Bad Jobs”?

Recently there was an article in our local paper citing a trend that temporary jobs were growing as a percentage of jobs in our area, and that this was a “bad” trend.  The article citied some statistics and opinions – that folks are certainly welcome to – but there is always another side to the story.

Let me start by saying this – It’s my opinion that any job is better than no job.  Whether it’s a retail job, hospitality job, or temp job.  Getting out and working leads to more chances for fulltime employment than not.

That said, let me lay out some statistics of TriStarr’s workforce and employees.  To understand the statistics it’s important to understand that (most) of the requests we receive from clients are for temporary assignments lasting 3-7 weeks.

The newspaper article stated that the average annual wage for employees of temporary staffing services is approximately $24,000.  At TriStarr our average annual wage was $29,099.20 in 2012.  That’s 20% higher than the average.  Now – our employees are typically doing “entry level” work.  How many of your businesses starting wages are $30,000 per year?

Oh – and by the way – Our range of annual salaries in 2012 was $19,760 (one employee) to $94,993.60 (also one employee).

The article alluded that temp jobs are “dead-end” jobs.

Of note – in 2012 – 77 employees received and accepted a full or part time offer of employment from a client directly due to the assignment TriStarr had placed them on.  So – there are 77 employees working in Lancaster County today as a DIRECT result of the TEMPORARY assignment they were placed on by TriStarr.  Of all the people we assigned in 2012, only 0.02% are collecting unemployment benefits.  That’s two tenths of one percent.

All that said – do we have a lot of people work temporary assignments?  Yes – we do.  What’s also important to understand is that the percentage of the US workforce that is “temporary” is approximately 2%.  The percentage of the workforce in Europe – where Healthcare is provided by the government – approaches 9-10%.  Businesses prefer flexibility today, and that means a flexible workforce.  As health benefits become government entitlements (they will be by the way – don’t kid yourself) the percentage of temporary workers in the US workforce will approach that of Europe.

One last statistic of note.  Are some temporary assignments very long term?  Yup!  We recently had a long term employee retire.  She’s been working temporary assignments for TriStarr for more than 15 years!  It was HER CHOICE to continue working temporary assignments.  Should she had wanted a “perm” job with any number of clients she could have had one in a heartbeat.   She liked the flexibility of choosing when she worked, and when she didn’t.  She contributed to TriStarr’s 401K.  She participated in our employer match, and began receiving distributions from her TriStarr provided 401k in 2013.

Like I said, there’s always two sides to a story.  We’re very proud of the work we do at TriStarr.  Every day we help our clients by supplementing their staff with temporary employees, or by helping them add to their full time ranks.  Also, every day we help people work.  Whether a college student working several assignments over the summer to pay for college, a recently unemployed person getting a chance at a fresh start, or a highly talented professional taking the next step in their career progression, we’re helping people work.

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