Would you settle for a temp position?

So you can’t find a permanent job. Would you settle for a temp position?

In recent weeks, employers have issued back-to-back callouts for applicants to fill thousands of temporary, or contract, positions. The latest in metro Atlanta came this week from Alorica, which wants to fill 600 customer service jobs at its Kennesaw call center by the end of November.

With the U.S. unemployment rate at 7.8 percent as reported Friday, and the the most recent metro Atlanta rate at 8.9 percent, finding full-time employment remains a big challenge for many.

Beth Herman, regional vice president for Manpower Group in Atlanta, however, said the outlook for contract work is “very, very strong.”

In its annual “talent shortage” survey, the placement agency said 49 percent of U.S. employers are having difficulty filling critical positions, which include skilled trades, engineering, information technology, sales, accounting and finance, drivers, mechanics, nurses, machinists and machine operators and teachers.

Herman said many employers are looking to fill those jobs with contract workers who can transition into permanent positions. She discussed the local outlook with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday:

AJC: How big is the need for contract workers locally?

Herman: “The need for contract workers has been very, very strong and, in fact, most of it is ‘temp-to-hire.’ It’s bring them in under contract with hopes of hiring [permanently].”

AJC: Why not hire permanently at the outset?

Herman: “It’s just to make sure they’re making the right hire, that the people fit in culturally, they’ve got the skills and the competencies and that they’re trainable. During the time of their contract it’s like a working interview. It gives them firsthand knowledge of how this person operates, how they approach work. Most companies are going to do more with less for the foreseeable future, and they just want to make sure they’re making the right hire, and temp-to-hire helps them achieve that.”

AJC: How has the perception of temp work changed over the years?

Herman: “People tend to think of temp [work] like what it was 20 years ago when people walked into a company and said ‘Oh my goodness, the secretary is off for the day. We need to get a temp in.’ It’s not like that anymore. The reason people use contract labor is (1) they have a permanent opening or (2) they have a long-term leave of absence, or it’s a project. Projects are another reason for hiring contract labor.”

Herman added that pay for contract work is typically one to a few dollars less than what a full-time worker would receive doing a comparable job, unless it’s a position in very high demand. In that case the pay could be equal to what a full-time worker is receiving. She said benefits vary widely from agency to agency, and job-seekers should do their homework to make sure a temp agency is the best fit for them.

Would you settle for a temp position if a permanent one couldn’t be found?

30 comments Add your comment

Allie F.

October 5th, 2012
5:54 pm

Yes, yes and yes……tell me where and when! I will be there with bells on!


October 5th, 2012
6:23 pm

Yes, I would. I did the temp-to-perm and it worked well.


October 5th, 2012
10:01 pm

I’ve done temp-to-perm work before, and I was always paid more as a contractor than full tme employee. Don’t let these agencies undercut your pay.


October 6th, 2012
12:35 am

Can we afford NOT to settle for a temp job?? i haven’t been offered anything in the field that I got laid off from 3 years ago. So instead of waiting to land back in the $60 – $70k salary range, I’m working a $10/hr call center job. not a very impressive “recovery”, in my opinion.

(ALL the jobs i’ve been offered via temp services have been call center jobs….. my kingdom for a DATA ENTRY job!! I’m not a phone-lover, to be honest…)

I am however thankful to have any job at all. at least it finally slowed the drain of those retirement funds that i’d hoped to leave out there for another 30yrs.

Oh Joyful

October 6th, 2012
7:07 am

Sad but true, job seekers out of the market “too long” are overlooked for employment. Some employers outright discriminate against the unemployed, refusing consideration of an otherwise qualified applicant if they are currently unemployed. Temp work offers a short term, often smaller paycheck, but not much more – and certainly not access to health plans and few fringe benefits may employees depend on. Even government contract workers are scrutinized over how many employers they have in a given period of time – so if you have “too many” you are outright disqualified from consideration. I HATE to say it, but we need stronger labor laws that help those looking for work avoid discrimination for unemployment, or underemployment!


October 6th, 2012
7:33 am

What We DON”T NEED is more labor laws !!! we need technically qualified engineers, electricians, , nurses, computer programmers, even welders and plumbers.. auto mechanics are called technicians and paid $50 K ++.. don’t just go to college with a student loan… learn to do something.. more Vo Techs and apprenticeships that lead to REAL skilled jobs !!!!


October 6th, 2012
7:38 am

Casual dining restaurants are hiring… waiters, bar tenders, cooks, etc…. my wife makes $50 at Outback Steak house in less than 40 hrs./week,


October 6th, 2012
7:40 am

thats $ 50,000 per year waiting tables… can move up to asst. mgr. and make more in a couple years

Richard 'Dick' Weiner

October 6th, 2012
8:29 am

I took a temp(as needed) position last September and was full time within 6 months. If you take a temp job, show up on time, do a good job, work to get the job done, and don’t complain about co-workers who are not making an effort…. you will be converted to full time. If you can lead co-workers to better performance and attitude, you will be promoted. It’s that easy.

There are no permanent jobs. Georgia is a right to work state and you’re going to die eventually.

Richard 'Dick' Weiner

October 6th, 2012
8:38 am

Independent is right. If the years people complain about not being able to find work, “in their field” were spent learning how to do something new, they’d have jobs now. There are jobs out there to be taken by temp employees. I’m moving up because I work, I work smart, I try to improve quality, and I show up for work on time. As I move up, people who do little more than show up for work, chronically late at that, are moving out.


October 6th, 2012
9:07 am

As a business owner I have to shake my head sadly.
I have hired 10 people in the past two months and have to let 9 of them go. Not because of the economy, but because while people say they want the job actually doing the job is something that is abhorrent to them.
People expect to be able to do a minimum amount of work for well above a minimum amount of wage.
A very serious issue in this economy not recovering is the issue of non-productivity for those that do have jobs.
Calling in sick at the last moment when really… just hung over.
Using the smart phone 90% of the day.
Showing up consistently late and wanting to leave early (but the paycheck better be on time)
Overstating your resume and when asked to do a basic task, having to be taught how to do it.
Cursory attempt at doing something hard or necessary and leaving it for the next shift.
Quitting the exact moment the time card says they have worked enough hours to go back on government assistance.
My number one issue is not the economy. I will not go out of business because of the economy.
I will go out of business because I can’t find help willing to work, willing to help advance the business and not willing to be honest and hard working and demanding 50K for a minimum wage position.
Why do some people believe that minimum wage = minimum work?
Why do some people say, “If you pay me more, I will work more.” when they haven’t shown me any work at all?

I don’t want to turn this into a political discussion because it isn’t. It is about the mentality of some people…
A customer was, in their “loud voice”, exclaiming that their candidate will win. I asked, our of curiosity why they were voting for this person, they said because their life was better under this person. I said, okay but I have seen you around, you are currently out of work correct? “Yes”, but they wished they could find a job. I said, “I will hire you right now at over minimum wage, part time or full time, your choice. You can even pick your schedule.” In which they replied, “Oh, no thank you. I will lose my assistance if I do.”


October 6th, 2012
11:12 am

Well said and very true.


October 6th, 2012
12:20 pm

I applied to Macy’s for holiday work and got an interview and was told that they really liked me, but there were no openings, but I would be put on a list they would call from when they had something open.
I apply for whatever I feel I qualify for and can do, but getting an interview is near impossible.

David-you might want to raise your hourly rate and maybe you will get a better employee or revise the qualifications you are advertising for-it sounds like something needs to be revised in what you are paying or what you are looking for. Maybe let another employee do the inital interview who might have a better “flake radar”. Just suggestions.


October 6th, 2012
4:08 pm

Why isn’t anyone holding the Republican run government of this state accountable? Presidents don’t create job, but local legislation CAN. Why is our employment rate so high yet we’ve cut taxes to the point that our state is starving? Where are the jobs based on lowering taxes on businesses? It’s time we took our state legislature (and governor) to task and demand legislation that will drive job growth and get people back to work more quickly. There are many states with much lower unemployment rates from ours and we could learn from them. Don’t count on our federal Congress to create any jobs anytime soon as they squelch every jobs bill that comes to vote.

David G.

October 6th, 2012
10:18 pm

Enter your comments here

Oct. 06, 2012
10:00 pm

I understand all of your sentiments. I have worked from high school up until I retired as either a direct payroll employee,self-employed or as a temp. Other than a couple of jobs I took when jobs in my dedicated field (consulting engineering)were extremely difficult to find, I have worked as a white collar worker in a corporate office setting. I will gladly work full time or part time for min. wage either as a temp. or full time without any of the intolorable issues you are currently experiencing with your new hires.
Email : dsg7323@fastmail.fm

Jacqui Washington, MBA

October 7th, 2012
12:21 am

The unemployed job seekers I work with would take a temp job over no job. @jobcoachjacqui


October 8th, 2012
7:20 am

NEVER. took a job where you would get commissions when hired permanently, trick is they never hired anyone permanently. They owed me over 6k when I figured it out. Company is Trulia.com

Settle for Temp? - Rotator

October 8th, 2012
11:42 am

[...] We are always asked “why should I take a temporary job” by potential candidates we speak with. Although everyone is looking for that permanent job that offers benefits and job perks, there are definite advantages to taking a temporary position with a staffing agency. We’re seeing an increase in requirements and job openings from our clients. Although unemployment is a shade under 8%, Rotator has more openings that candidates to fill the jobs. This really provides job seekers a hand up in finding a job – especially because many of our openings are temp-perm opportunities. For more insight, please click here. [...]


October 8th, 2012
12:25 pm

temp positions pay chump change—I’ll hold out until something good comes along. If I can’t find a job soon, I might move back to new jersey and live with my uncle.


October 8th, 2012
2:37 pm

I have had the opportunity to do both temp and long-term contract work and enjoyed both. I also believe that the rate of pay was usually higher than the rate for permanent full time.

Would I do it again? Absolutely!


October 8th, 2012
4:11 pm

I did temp assignments for 3 years until I found a permenant position. While the pay isn’t always the best it gives you a chance to develop new skills, keep the skills you had current, also a great opportunity to network

Wanda Mimms

October 8th, 2012
4:44 pm

It seems that’s what companies are doing now to fill in gaps. You never know, most of the time a temporary position turns out to be a try out period.

icon downloads

October 9th, 2012
4:59 am

Road Scholar

October 9th, 2012
10:27 am

no jobs: Why bother. Leave for NJ now! Do you realize that many employers are “discriminating” against those who are out of work for an extended time? Having a job does, at a minimum, show you are motivated, want to work, can hold a position, maybe learn new skills needed for future employment, and show that you are not one of these “entitlement” people we read about. Get off your ass and either take a job or go back to NJ. I hear they need snow shovelers this winter! Do you have an owners manual on how to operate a shovel?

David: You confirm my fears as to why people are unemployed. Most worthless workers keep their cell phones on at work, focusing on themselves versus the job. They don’t get it!

I used to give presentations to kids about an engineering career. One boy asked what I made a year. I said beginning engineers make about $50K…he said that was chump change and he would not take a job for less than $100k. That was his idea of what a starting salary should be for a recent college graduate!


October 9th, 2012
10:40 am

In 2010 I could see the writing on the wall that I would get laid off soon, so I started looking for a new job. One of the people who called me back was a staffing agency. I was reluctant to leave my full time job for something temporary, but when I got laid off a month later I called the recruiter. They had me back at work within a month: it started as a two month contract but the company I worked for kept finding new things they needed me for and I ended up working at my same rate of pay for a little over a year. Around the time they started getting less work and had less need for me, I found another job through a family member, but as the work was tapering off, the staffing agency was lining up interviews for me. It was great. I think more companies will hire contract workers in the future because it is less liability for them to pay a contractor than to have an employee and have to pay benefits (especially health benefits which are becoming more expensive).


October 9th, 2012
11:28 am

Temporary work can by lucrative. If you can get temp work consistently, you can work all the time. And if you can get it more consistently than what you can do on your own, you can hire a subcontractor and get some work that way.

Get a business license and get legal, because you officially have your own business.

Ronelle Watkins

October 9th, 2012
5:10 pm

Hello David,

Will work for you. I need a job. please contact me. ronniew109@yahoo.com


October 9th, 2012
5:21 pm

A temporary positions pay LESS than the permanent position! Why bother doing anything but contractors in that case? Remember the staffing agency is taking a cut of your pay. That’s why its a dollar or three less per hour than the permanent employee. In skilled positions it may be ten, twenty or even double what the perm makes…and the agency is STILL skimming off the top.


October 9th, 2012
5:21 pm

Oh yeah!!!!!


October 9th, 2012
10:39 pm