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Why Do Companies Use Temporary Workers?

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/20/2010

Many businesses employ temps during busy seasons or as a way of finding new permanent staff. Learn some answers to the question, "Why do companies use temporary workers?" to determine whether hiring a temp is the best idea for your situation.

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    Short-Term Need

    Factory Workers 

    Perhaps the most common reason that companies use temporary workers is that they have a temporary need for additional staff. For example, if an employee will be gone on maternity leave or has suffered illness or injury and will be unable to work for several weeks, hiring a temporary worker to fill in for that person makes sense. If the position requires only a basic skill set and not detailed knowledge of the company or industry, businesses can even use temporary workers to fill in for exceptionally short-term needs, such as a temp to cover for a front desk receptionist who is out sick for a day or two.

    Businesses that require staffing flexibility may need to use temporary workers to meet short-term needs as well. Retail stores that become increasingly busy over the holiday season require additional staff, many of which they will no longer require once the holidays are over. Factories that experience a temporary influx in production due to a special, short-term contract might require temporary workers to help them meet production goals. Other types of businesses and industries have primary seasons during which they need assistance, such as farmers, tax accountants and certain types of construction benefit from workers who are willing to undertake a job for a brief period.

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    Saving Money

    Another answer to the question, "Why do companies use temporary workers?" is that it may be less expensive than hiring permanent employees. When it comes to seeking out, interviewing and hiring new staff members, the process itself can be expensive. Businesses must pay to post classified advertisements. Those in charge of screening and hiring employees must spend time doing so, which costs the company as it detracts from other important job duties. If a business performs background checks, there is a cost involved in doing this as well. By utilizing the services of a temporary employment agency, businesses bypass the need to find workers as the agency has already done the legwork. Of course, there is a cost for these services as well, so the expenses should be assessed and compared.

    Optimistic Professional 

    Employers save money using temporary staff in other ways, though. For instance, most businesses do not offer health insurance or other benefits, such as paid sick days and retirement funds, to temporary workers.

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    Saving Time

    Finally, businesses save a great deal of time using temporary workers. Managers and human resource personnel must spend time looking over resumes, contacting applicants, performing interviews and screening potential employees. As stated previously, temporary employment agencies generally handle all of these aspects so that the hiring company does not need to.

    In addition, if a business hopes to find a long-term or permanent employee they can employ a temporary worker on a trial basis to see if the fit is a good one. This prevents the company from investing a great deal of time in an employee only to learn that things are not working out. In a temporary or temp-to-hire setting, either party can generally end the arrangement at any time without repercussion.

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    Factory Workers: Wikimedia Commons/bryan

    Optimistic Professional: R