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The Concept of Alternate Staffing

The Concept of Alternate Staffing

As companies strive to find new and thoughtful ways to manage costs in their organization alternative staffing is a concept that has taken hold with many companies over the last several years. Alternative staffing refers to hiring individuals on a part-time or as needed basis, typically under short term contract and for specific services as opposed to full-time personnel.

Alternative staffing strategies are defined as employer-employee relationships that depart from traditional, full-time, long-term, in-house employment arrangements. While alternative methods are not new, they are becoming increasingly popular because of the advantages they hold for both employees and employers. Alternative staffing methods allow employers the flexibility to respond to fluctuations in the business climate while protecting the job security and morale of their regular, full-time work force.

Industry insiders in the staffing business world over have noticed a profound change in the way some of the best and brightest scientists, engineers, and technical staff are finding their next jobs. Many scientists are giving up full-time, permanent positions to venture out on their own as free agents. David W. Green, editor of Managing the Modern Labouratory, cites research showing that science professionals have discovered that contract positions afford them the freedom and flexibility to move their career ahead at their own pace. Working as free agents allows them to build skills in areas important to them and work with the employers where they think can do the best work. As an added benefit, the free agent lifestyle allows employees a better balance in their work and personal lives.

In a market upswing the labour market can become tight and finding qualified alternative staffing can become difficult. This can leave a company unable to find the resources they need to meet their commitments or objectives.

Turnover can be higher with alternative staffing, companies are not incredibly loyal to these individuals and the individuals are the same. If a better offer comes up for a temporary staff they can disappear quickly and the company is stuck having to look for new staff with short notice.

Risksfor Employees

  • Employees have very little job security in alternative staffing solutions and can quickly find themselves looking for new work. In a market downturn when the labour pool is plentiful it can be difficult to replace a lost job.
  • Employees have to cover things like medical insurance themselves in many alternative staffing situations; as such they can find their overall costs increasing significantly.

Criticism’s of Alternative Staffing

Many employee organizations, i.e. unions, are heavily critical of alternative staffing as they see it as companies simply trying to cut costs at the expense of employees. This is true in some cases, particularly with companies that employee less skilled labour.

For those in the skilled professional trades there is less criticism as many lawyers, accountants, and finance specialists greatly appreciate the flexibility and time freed up by working in alternative staffing environments. These people are higher earners, however, so they can afford working limited hours more than someone working at close to minimum wage.

So Is Alternative Staffing a Good Fit For Me?

Companies and individuals need to carefully weigh the benefits and risks outlined above in determining if an alternative staffing solution is something they want to pursue. For some this is a great fit while for others the risks may not be something they can tolerate or absorb.

ANGALORE: IBM is the biggest spender on IT contract workforce hiring in India, and the spend is almost double that of the next biggest spenders. The New York-based technology company spends over $150 million annually to hire contract IT staff, which as per estimates translates to more than 15% of its overall workforce.

Accenture, Microsoft and Cisco spend over $80 million each on maintaining a vast

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