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Temporary, Contingent and Flexible Staffing Demystified

Enterprises today are gradually utilizing temporary staffing services to bolster their recruitment cycle. Terms like ‘temporary staffing’, ‘contingent staffing’ and ‘flexible staffing’ are commonplace today when discussing options of recruiting for a job role. Most people however mistake all three to mean the same and use them interchangeably. There are in fact differences between these three types of staffing provided by staffing agencies, especially in their respective practical application and impact on the business. Let us discuss these staffing services in detail for a better understanding.

Temporary staffing

Temporary staffing is often a route companies take to fill an immediate vacancy for a limited time period. Traditionally this approach was adopted for non-critical business functions such as administration or other clerical posts and with the view of filling in for a short-term need to cover for vacation, illness, maternity etc. As a result the quality and skills match of such temporary employees was not given much importance.

With time, the availability of better skilled and a diverse workforce on the supply side and the inherent benefits of flexibility and cost on the demand side has seen a significant shift in the nature of temporary staffing.

Contingent staffing

Contingent staffing is a concept that has evolved from temporary staffing. It covers a broader array of staffing services from strategic, operational to clerical roles. Contingency staffing is generally on a long-term basis, and encompasses resources with a broad skill set including consultants, temporary staff, freelancers or contractors, that help meet more strategic business needs. There are three board types of contingent workers:

Traditional temporary workers: These are the candidates who generally work for a short period of time, mainly for supplementing their financial needs.

Transitional workers: Most people opt for temporary work as a bridge to permanent jobs. They use these temporary jobs as an opportunity to acquire new skills and showcase them to their potential new employers.

Long-term workers: Some of the contingent staffing is done on a long term basis and the candidates are generally better educated, have a higher pay ratio, enjoy the benefits and are individuals who prefer and enjoy the freedom and independence offered by such jobs.

Flexible staffing

Flexible staffing can be described as a combination of the first two hiring strategies – temporary staffing and contingency staffing. Companies that opt for flexible staffing, first analyze their dynamic business workload before hiring. It is seen that employers who are able to adapt in staffing requirements according to their business requirements have an upper hand on its competitors that do not employ flexible staffing strategies.