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Unemployed Find Temp Staffing Agencies Helpful

Although economists say that the Great Recession officially ended June 2009, the U.S. job market has yet to reclaim the losses. More American workers have been sidelined for primarily one of two reasons: 1) There are more job applicants than job openings. 2) They do not possess the skills required to fill positions. Staffing agencies might offer a glimmer of hope for unemployed workers.

The anemic job recovery continues with only 169,000 jobs added in August 2013, according to the most recent labor report from BLS. While the national unemployment rate ticked down to 7.3 percent, the job market appears to remain in second gear. When you drill down into the numbers, estimates for June and July were revised downward by 74,000 jobs.

Jobs added throughout the recovery are disproportionately low-paying service positions. At the current hiring pace, it will take another eight years before the employment rate returns to prerecession levels. Further, the lower unemployment rate is due to less people looking for work, rather than people finding jobs. This means that fewer Americans are either looking for work or employed than any time period for the past 35 years.

An Alternate Hope for the Unemployed Worker

Compounding the situation for the unemployed is being subjected to discrimination. Some job ads overtly list “currently employed” as a requirement to apply. Reports from workers who have been unemployed for a year or more report facing rejection as soon as prospective employers find out about their current status. Currently, this practice is legal in nearly every state.

While a bill that would criminalize this hiring practice languishes in Congress, temporary staffing agencies may be the option of last resort. Historically, workers search for employment opportunities on their own and used temp agencies when other options were exhausted. However, the current job market requires an expansion of options that many might not consider under ordinary conditions.

This has led many workers to find benefits not previously recognized through temporary agencies.

Assistance with Looking for Employment

Looking for a job can be a physically and emotionally draining process for many people. A person can spend hours searching through online postings, completing applications, tailoring resumes and cover letters to specific positions. In some cases, it feels like the person already has a job due to the amount of time it takes.

Temp agencies can help unemployed workers navigate the job seeking process. While the worker ultimately sells him or herself for a position, these agencies provide benefits that may help the worker remain proactive and positive.

Build Work Experience

Typically, unemployed people can find work through temp staffing agencies to fill gaps while they are looking for a permanent position. Temp staffing agencies provide opportunities to expand technical skills and experience with various temporary assignments. Even though most assignments may last for a few days or weeks, most require little or no experience.

A broad range of occupational experience may translate into permanent employment opportunities since many employers are wary about hiring unemployed people. Workers can include the jobs on their resumes after building at least six months of experience. This will help to justify employment gaps.

Showcase Talents

By working through temporary agencies, unemployed workers build experience with various companies that might overlook the same workers applying for a job directly. This presents a golden opportunity for workers to showcase their talents and prove that they can be a valuable asset to the company.

Chances for a permanent job offer increase if their skills and expertise are needed to help a company achieve goals. Even if a permanent offer does not materialize, workers can list core skills gained and major accomplishments on their resume. This will enhance their marketable skills for future opportunities.

Opportunity to Network

In addition to obtaining additional job skills, unemployed workers have the opportunity to network with people that have shared career interests. They are exposed to people who can offer career advice that may help to improve their job search. Networking can also connect unemployed workers to job opportunities that are not advertised.

Steady Paycheck

There is also a financial benefit when working through temp staffing agencies. Receiving a steady paycheck that can be more than an unemployment insurance check can alleviate financial concerns. Workers get paid while working temporary assignments and still have time to look for a permanent job.

Some Employers Take Advantage of a Good Thing

Before the Great Recession, the average number of weeks that a person might be unemployed was 25 weeks. During and after the recession, the number of weeks increased to 39 and higher, with some people remaining unemployed for two years. The longer a person remains unemployed it is less likely that an employer will offer them a job. Not only does this jobless duration weaken employable skills, but many people exhaust savings trying to pay basic living expenses.

The desire to work anywhere can leave many workers vulnerable to programs designed to help them return to the workforce. For example, some state workforce development agencies started programs to assist the long-term unemployed find jobs. Generally, these programs offer basic on-the-job training while workers receive unemployment insurance payments.

Most programs last for approximately eight weeks and give workers an opportunity to connect with potential employers. However, some question whether these programs actually help people who are looking for permanent jobs. Employers are not obligated to make job offers once workers complete the program.

Few are hired after eight weeks, yet employers receive the benefit of workers without paying a salary or employment taxes. What these program do for workers, however, is give them something to add to their resumes.

Finding Temporary Work

Generally, unemployed workers can find temporary work through online job boards or contacting temp staffing agencies directly. Most job boards have features where workers can narrow searches to temporary or contract work.

Signing up with staffing agencies gives workers access to companies that might not list open positions. Instead of the worker searching for temp or contract work, agencies have already built client relationships with employers. Staffing professionals are familiar with local job prospects and can act as an intermediary. This may give long-term unemployed workers a foot in the door that would otherwise be closed.

Some temp staffing agencies offer a wide range of employment opportunities from light industrial professional accountant positions. They can help workers find jobs in areas of interest for free. Employers pay a fee that includes a pay rate for workers.

In essence, unemployed workers and temp staffing agencies create a partnership with incentives for both sides. Workers have an opportunity to leverage their skills and possibly find a permanent position. Agencies are paid once they place workers on job assignments.

However, workers must take ownership in their job search activities. Staffing agencies may set up interviews or send workers to direct placements, but it is the workers responsibility to be prepared.

Temp staffing agencies can become a safety net for unemployed workers who need a consistent income. These agencies are a great resource for returning to a former career or beginning a new one.