Author Topic: Do Temp Agencies add value?  (Read 6453 times)

chaitea

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Do Temp Agencies add value?
« on: September 02, 2014, 05:57:13 PM »
I'm thinking of quitting my job next month. It's something I got into out of school but I don't enjoy it any more and I don't think it will advance my career. If I dip into my TSFAs and savings (Canadian) I can make do until next March. It'll also be a nice break for me to catch up on reading, level up my cooking skills, get into shape and hopefully I can teach myself how to program a bit.

I was thinking of doing some temp work to help with my time off, some administration/secretary that kind of thing and was wondering about temp agencies. I've googled a few but there aren't Yelp reviews or anything of the sort. I posed a question to my reddit/r/c*mycity* but I can't help being a little suspicious. Most of these firms get paid by their client. Do they just pay out lower wages to compensate for the extra administrative effort required to hire?

I'm a pretty organized person and I realize that finding a job requires time and patience. I can probably go through workopolis, monster and indeed every day for some time ... would the same jobs pop up on here or are some companies exclusive to temp agencies? It just seems like the middleman doesn't offer that much that I can't find on my own.

Comments would be appreciated.

LAWson

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 06:27:29 PM »
I quickly got a job via temp agency. I think some companies go through temp agencies to reduce search costs (getting the listing noticed, screening candidates, urgency to fill position) I couldn't find that job through board listings and I had trouble finding a job in general. Temp agencies profit by taking a big cut of the pay and giving you low wages. People who go through temp agencies are typically desperate for work, so they have bargaining power.

I recommend using a temp agency as a last resort. The pay was 20% lower than my first job, which was far far less work and stress.

Dicey

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 07:13:27 PM »
Wow, I'm thinking you just might be making a decision you will regret. That money will go so fast. Do you have specialized skills that are in high demand? Are sure you have explored all the options available via the job you currently have?
Lest you think I sound harsh, let me hasten to explain that I felt that way most of my working career. I stepped out of high paying job to one that was lower paying/less stress/more flexible. In retrospect, it delayed FIRE by way too long and ultimately wasn't worth it.
I'm not saying you're stuck there forever by any means, but it does not feel like you have thought this through enough, nor do you have enough money to do this. So, make a better plan, save like hell for a few months (or longer) and then when you have a good plan in place, pull the trigger. I realize yours was a short post and there may be more pertinent details, so I'm off the mark, feel free to add to your OP.

Primm

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 08:04:26 PM »
I'm not sure what you do, but if it's not working in the secretarial / admin type field, you may struggle to get placements with a temp agency.

No disrespect intended, but these places (and the people that pay them for staff) need staff who can hit the ground running, who know exactly what is needed to keep the businesses that they work for running, and someone who thinks that secretarial / admin type work will be an easy out isn't that person. I'm not saying you can't do it efficiently and effectively, but knowing exactly which buttons to press on the various phone systems and how to use their computer systems takes a little while to learn that's all, and if they're employing a temp time is one luxury they probably don't have.

chaitea

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 08:26:21 PM »
I'm in Alberta so there's an abundance of jobs. Come Christmas time there will be a hiring freeze so if there's about a month and a half to actually find some part-time before the new year. I would also be looking at job postings for permanent positions in the meantime and would be willing to go back to work earlier if I found the right job, it's just the temp work would come quicker and I wouldn't mind contributing a few extra hours a day to go towards bills.   

No my job skill set is not high in demand but I'm willing to risk it. I'm not offended or anything, but I can live off my savings for six months. I have some extra in RRSP I could take out so that would extend it to seven months. How much do you think I should save before I attempt it?

It's not a decision that I've come to lightly. I've been thinking about it for well over a year. A lot of other people buy 4 months of unpaid leave (and yes they have a job to come back to) and yes it would prolong FIRE but I think I would benefit immensely from a few months off.

I don't have formal training with secretarial/admin work but I've answered the phone at my current job (paged, transferred, etc), I have good typing skills (I actually type properly, returning to home row and all and can do 90 words per minute*) and I've used adobe reader, am competent in Microsoft Office. I think the only value-added skills I would need are specialized time in their computer systems like if I had to pick up SAP or something, but I think I could make do. I did a bit of clerical work when I was in university and data entry so I have those skills to fall back on.

*Edit to correct typing speed :P
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 04:42:59 PM by chaitea »

Goldielocks

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 08:53:27 PM »
Temp agencies take a steep cut -- they charge you out at a higher rate, and you get less than others doing the same work. 
They also charge a recruitment finders fee to the employer, if they want to hire you directly.

For the reduced pay, you get the benefit of a variety of work experiences, ability to cut and run from a location you don't like, without hassles for pay stub re-creations, you are an employee of the temp agency, even when part time / low or no hours, you can suddenly take off 6 weeks and then return, etc. 

It is very good for people with unpredictable work schedules or wanting variety.
It is very good for employers needing admin help, front desk help, cad drafting, and heavy lifting / file storage  / warehouse  / demolition work.

If you sign up, be aware that they need to tell you where they are shopping your resume, they can not send out unsolicited posting and you have the right to cancel.  You don't want to sign up with a recruitment office exclusive for 6 months that prevents you from getting work directly later on.

gecko10x

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 08:57:53 PM »
I will put in a +1 for temp agencies, at least the good ones (Manpower, Kelly, etc.). As someone above said, some companies will exclusively use them to fill lower end positions, and you can generally find work quickly using them.
I got in with my current company 11 years ago via a temp agency.

GuitarStv

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 06:43:54 AM »
My experience with temp agencies is that many businesses use them as a cost cutting service.  Couple that with the cut that the agency takes, and you end up being drastically underpaid for whatever work you're doing.  The reason that you can quickly find work with them is that you are selling yourself short.

Moonwaves

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 07:29:21 AM »
(I actually type properly, returning to home row and all and can do 90 words per hour)
That's not fast enough. If you can do 90 words per minute on the other hand, you'll be fine. :)

frugaliknowit

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 07:58:51 AM »
Tough love/Tough hug:  Don't quit your job until you find a replacement.  Look while you are employed.  You do not know how long it will take you to find another job.  This is an unknown so just don't do it. Hug!

DocHolliday

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 08:21:32 AM »
I'd like to give you my experience from the other side of the equation.  I own a business and want to find people that will work well in my organization for long term employment.  I employ a local temp agency to weed through people that they know will not work with my business to find qualified and personable applicants.  In addition, they have the ability to easily perform background checks and will organize and do initial background checks on the people they send me. 

The best part of it from my perspective is that I can interview more people (they have a stable of potential workers), choose the one I like the best and if that person doesn't work out (about 50% chance it seems) then I call the temp agency and tell them that we no longer need that person's services.  There is essentially no risk to me regarding claims of unemployment insurance scamming and the risk of hiring an unknown person is much, much less as I can jettison poor employees before they are employed directly by me.  I generally keep people on temp status for the full time period (I think it is 3-4 months) and make a decision from there. 

The downside of using an agency is that I end up paying them a premium of 50% of the employee's salary while they are on temp status.  The temp is paid what I would would pay a new hire so that is not a downside to the employee.  They are not employed by me, however, and do not have benefits through my company unless we both decide to continue on with our relationship.  To date, I've had 3 wonderful employees from an agency and have decided to nonrenew 3 employees from them (it took between 4 days and 4 weeks to figure out that they were not a fit...no one can fake it for 3 months straight).  The cost (approximately $3500 for the positions I'm hiring) is pretty low when you consider the cost of a bad, unethical or litiginous employee.

Fonzico

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2014, 08:35:18 AM »
I'm in Alberta too, so I will add my two-cents about temp agencies that may be a little more locally specific. (We use one at the company I work at, and I had a friend who worked for them - like for the agency itself, not as a temp).

The pay isn't fantastic, BUT the agencies charge the businesses a great deal more than it would cost for us to hire someone of the same skill level. The reason we do it, is because the nature of our work is that occasionally we need twice the number of people we normally have, and it's easier to use temps than try to hire temporary workers ourselves. Not cheaper. Easier. Granted, this is for manual labour positions, not admin. I would suspect that you are largely going to get positions where, say, the receptionist is out sick and they need someone to answer the phones, etc. In general, people are not using temp agencies to fill long term positions.

Staffing agencies are a bit different - the employers pay a fee to have someone else find them an employee, but then you are employed by your employers, not by the agency. Did that make sense?

Many temp agencies have a problem finding decent workers. They largely attract people who are otherwise unemployable, due to substance abuse issue, unreliability, attitude, etc. If you are clean, professionally dressed, have some skills to bring to the table, and generally not an asshole, you'll probably get bumped up to some of the more choice positions quickly.

Regarding the "hiring freeze". If you find yourself in that position, it's pretty easy to get a job as temporary Christmas staff in retail. No, the pay isn't going to be great, but especially if you work at a place where you can buy most of your presents at a discount, it might work out in your favour. And would at least be some cash.

southern granny

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 01:37:11 PM »
There are several companies in my area that use temp services.  The temps make a little less than their regular employees.  The main difference is that they don't get any benefits such as insurance.  They often hire the temps as regular employees after they have been awhile if they are good employees.

Lis

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2014, 02:54:19 PM »
I'm not sure what you do, but if it's not working in the secretarial / admin type field, you may struggle to get placements with a temp agency.

No disrespect intended, but these places (and the people that pay them for staff) need staff who can hit the ground running, who know exactly what is needed to keep the businesses that they work for running, and someone who thinks that secretarial / admin type work will be an easy out isn't that person. I'm not saying you can't do it efficiently and effectively, but knowing exactly which buttons to press on the various phone systems and how to use their computer systems takes a little while to learn that's all, and if they're employing a temp time is one luxury they probably don't have.

I second what Primm said. It's more complicated than answering a couple of phones and some data entry. I'm an admin to the admins, and I honestly believe they're the hardest working people in our company.

Why not try to find a part time job at a book store or coffee shop or something? You might be able to pick up new and interesting skills. Or, instead of a long 6-7 month break, take a month off to relax and go back?

Exflyboy

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2014, 03:00:02 PM »
I just got a job with an ex employer thru a temp agency.

because I had the power of FU money (I had already retired) I negotiated an hourly rate equivalent to my old salary... But its hourly.. not salaried.

The average work week around here is 50 hours and every hour has to be paid for.. Oh and its time and a half over 40 hours.

Ka-ching!.. I don't need the money but heck, I like being paid for all the time I work and not just part of it!..:)

Frank

chaitea

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2014, 04:51:00 PM »
Oh I can appreciate that admin work is not easy. I have a friend at an engineering firm that has to do tons of overtime to get stuff out. I don't mind long hours as long as the work is new and interesting.

Maybe I didn't post enough information? I have two bachelors. One in the arts and one in biology. The job I'm in now is similar to proposal writing so I have spent a lot of time doing tedious work on word and excel making sure documents are sent out in a professional manner.

My company wouldn't offer me the flexibility of leaving for a time and I'd want to leave for good anyway to pick up more skills. If it helps, my boyfriend is still in school but has a lot of money saved up as well. He would support me for a while longer if I needed past the 6 months.

I'm not against the idea of working in a bookstore or coffee shop. I'm also not against the idea of reducing the amount of time I take off. If a good permanent position pops up I'd take it. I just figured temping would allow me to work in different environments and I could take a way some new things from it in the future without having to commit.

chaitea

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2014, 04:56:56 PM »
I'd like to give you my experience from the other side of the equation.  I own a business and want to find people that will work well in my organization for long term employment.  I employ a local temp agency to weed through people that they know will not work with my business to find qualified and personable applicants.  In addition, they have the ability to easily perform background checks and will organize and do initial background checks on the people they send me. 

The best part of it from my perspective is that I can interview more people (they have a stable of potential workers), choose the one I like the best and if that person doesn't work out (about 50% chance it seems) then I call the temp agency and tell them that we no longer need that person's services.  There is essentially no risk to me regarding claims of unemployment insurance scamming and the risk of hiring an unknown person is much, much less as I can jettison poor employees before they are employed directly by me.  I generally keep people on temp status for the full time period (I think it is 3-4 months) and make a decision from there. 

The downside of using an agency is that I end up paying them a premium of 50% of the employee's salary while they are on temp status.  The temp is paid what I would would pay a new hire so that is not a downside to the employee.  They are not employed by me, however, and do not have benefits through my company unless we both decide to continue on with our relationship.  To date, I've had 3 wonderful employees from an agency and have decided to nonrenew 3 employees from them (it took between 4 days and 4 weeks to figure out that they were not a fit...no one can fake it for 3 months straight).  The cost (approximately $3500 for the positions I'm hiring) is pretty low when you consider the cost of a bad, unethical or litiginous employee.

Thanks. This is the sort of response I was looking for. Can you make any temp agency recommendations?

Argyle

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2014, 05:18:36 PM »
I've done a lot of temp work and it's a very good thing for people who need to be flexible, don't want to or can't commit to a long-term job, etc.

I don't know how hard jobs are to get in your field, but if you need to have a new job in 6-7 months, be aware that this may mean that you should start looking now.  In a great many fields you can't just order up a new job when you want one; it requires some significant search time.

mlipps

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2014, 09:35:22 PM »
I'm not sure what you do, but if it's not working in the secretarial / admin type field, you may struggle to get placements with a temp agency.

No disrespect intended, but these places (and the people that pay them for staff) need staff who can hit the ground running, who know exactly what is needed to keep the businesses that they work for running, and someone who thinks that secretarial / admin type work will be an easy out isn't that person. I'm not saying you can't do it efficiently and effectively, but knowing exactly which buttons to press on the various phone systems and how to use their computer systems takes a little while to learn that's all, and if they're employing a temp time is one luxury they probably don't have.

I second what Primm said. It's more complicated than answering a couple of phones and some data entry. I'm an admin to the admins, and I honestly believe they're the hardest working people in our company.

Why not try to find a part time job at a book store or coffee shop or something? You might be able to pick up new and interesting skills. Or, instead of a long 6-7 month break, take a month off to relax and go back?

When I worked as an admin thru a temp agency, I made $12/hour and they made $20. When the company hired me on, my new salary was $19/hour plus awesome benefits. So there was a big difference there. But overall the experience was positive for me. I was lucky to be recruited by a stand out temp agency and worked with an awesome recruiter to get a placement.

For me, the hardest thing about being an admin is the constant interruptions. Maybe it is not like that everywhere, but I sit at the front desk, handle walk in and phone calls, answer questions from staff about anything and everything and also have to get a normal amount of projects and tasks completed. I feel like I'm losing my mind some days. I could be wrong, but I'm assuming based on the level of detail your current job requires, you have a pretty quiet work environment where you can focus. Many admins do not have that luxury and the cost is your sanity some days!

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2014, 09:56:48 PM »
Wow, I'm thinking you just might be making a decision you will regret. . . . . . . . Lest you think I sound harsh, let me hasten to explain that I felt that way most of my working career. I stepped out of high paying job to one that was lower paying/less stress/more flexible. In retrospect, it delayed FIRE by way too long and ultimately wasn't worth it.
I'm not saying you're stuck there forever by any means, but it does not feel like you have thought this through enough, nor do you have enough money to do this. So, make a better plan, save like hell for a few months (or longer) and then when you have a good plan in place, pull the trigger. I realize yours was a short post and there may be more pertinent details, so I'm off the mark, feel free to add to your OP.

Diane is right on this one.  Find your next gig WHILE WORKING at your CURRENT gig!  You don't have to LOVE it - that's why they PAY you to do the work.  If you loved it, you'd work for free right?

Lis

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2014, 10:56:21 AM »
I'm not sure what you do, but if it's not working in the secretarial / admin type field, you may struggle to get placements with a temp agency.

No disrespect intended, but these places (and the people that pay them for staff) need staff who can hit the ground running, who know exactly what is needed to keep the businesses that they work for running, and someone who thinks that secretarial / admin type work will be an easy out isn't that person. I'm not saying you can't do it efficiently and effectively, but knowing exactly which buttons to press on the various phone systems and how to use their computer systems takes a little while to learn that's all, and if they're employing a temp time is one luxury they probably don't have.

I second what Primm said. It's more complicated than answering a couple of phones and some data entry. I'm an admin to the admins, and I honestly believe they're the hardest working people in our company.

Why not try to find a part time job at a book store or coffee shop or something? You might be able to pick up new and interesting skills. Or, instead of a long 6-7 month break, take a month off to relax and go back?

When I worked as an admin thru a temp agency, I made $12/hour and they made $20. When the company hired me on, my new salary was $19/hour plus awesome benefits. So there was a big difference there. But overall the experience was positive for me. I was lucky to be recruited by a stand out temp agency and worked with an awesome recruiter to get a placement.

For me, the hardest thing about being an admin is the constant interruptions. Maybe it is not like that everywhere, but I sit at the front desk, handle walk in and phone calls, answer questions from staff about anything and everything and also have to get a normal amount of projects and tasks completed. I feel like I'm losing my mind some days. I could be wrong, but I'm assuming based on the level of detail your current job requires, you have a pretty quiet work environment where you can focus. Many admins do not have that luxury and the cost is your sanity some days!

Yup, I started out at $16 an hour and accidentally saw the invoice for my services, and it was for $34 an hour!

And I agree... you just settle down to start a project, and two minutes in, just as you find your groove, the phone rings. Then someone comes up to your desk. Then someone needs something RIGHT THIS SECOND. You settle back into your groove and the interruptions start all over again. And forget about the days that you're in a bad mood and have to be nice to guests... ugh...

But to get back on topic, if I was feeling overwhelmed by my current position, I would look into multiple part time jobs, some just for fun and to gain experience. I don't even mean work experience, but life experience. I will forever be nice to the people in retail (assuming they're nice enough to me) because I worked retail, and the horribleness I experienced by some customers when I tried to help was ridiculous sometimes. So I always treat sales associates kindly and with respect. Again off topic, but still slightly relevant.

DocHolliday

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Re: Do Temp Agencies add value?
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2014, 01:56:19 PM »
Dear chaitea,

I suppose I would say that my recommendations would hinge around what you are looking to accomplish in the long term.  If you are looking for a good long term position, I would let them know that at the Employment agency and would ask them their track record in long term placement of their clients.  I suspect that there are several types of businesses out there...some that try to supply a good fit for companies so that they can get repeat business from them (from supplying new long-term employees) and some that just want to have a good pool of temporary employees that they can send out to fill short term staffing needs.  If you are looking for a long term position, be up front and let them know that, let them know what your ideal situation is and what your long term goals are...if they aren't really interested in these things and just see you as a worker bee, I would recommend that you find a different agency.  The other thing I would recommend is for you to interview various agencies and see which one is the best fit for you...just like you are interviewing them for a job as they will be working for you as well as for the people they send you to.

If you are interested, I can provide you with the name of the agency I use and you can pick their brains as to what to look for in your area...it's a small world and they might even know a good group in your area.