Temporary jobs: their advantages and disadvantages
(source of information : "A temporary boom in the job market," U.S. News & World Report, March 19, 2001
In early 2001, almost 3 million Americans were using the services of temporary employment agencies. In fact, the temporary agencies were one of the country's fastest growing industries. Between 1994 and 2000, the number of agencies doubled, and the largest agency had revenue of $12 billion in 2000. In this diverse and rapidly changing economy, many young workers do not have a clear idea of their future careers, and temporary jobs give an opportunity to try out work in a specific field. In addition, Americans change their jobs frequently for a variety of reasons, the main reason being a higher salary. Every year, American corporations replace one seventh of their entire work force, and often temporary workers fill the void until new appropriate employees are hired.
For corporations, the temporary employees also provide several economic advantages, the most important of which is the flexibility of employment during a severe economic fluctuation. For an untested project, staffing with temporary workers, rather than permanent workers, is much more flexible if the project needs to be terminated. Or if the economic condition of a company requires down-sizing, it is much easier to stop hiring temporary workers than to layoff permanent workers and rehire them when the demand for workers may increase due to improved economic conditions. Often, companies hire temporary workers to test their desirability as permanent workers. Temporary workers are not paid most of the customary fringe benefits, including medical insurance and retirement income. Although companies pay a hefty fee to employment agencies, temporary workers are still cheaper than permanent workers.
For workers, there are many downsides to temporary employment. The lack of important fringe benefits is the most serious disadvantage, but in addition, there is disrespect and distrust of temporary workers by management and fellow workers. Temporary workers are automatically assumed to lack any sense of loyalty and incentive toward their work and employers. They are viewed with suspicion of their ability to obtain and hold a permanent job. Companies with a large pool of temporary workers are also viewed with suspicion that they are constantly trying to exploit workers by not paying their full benefits.
Regardless of these shortcomings, temporary workers represent a fundamental shift in the patterns of the U.S. job market. More than 90% of U.S. companies, including large well-established ones, use temporary workers, and temporary workers have become a permanent feature of large corporations, instead of being a temporary means of filling worker shortage.