The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working for a Temporary Agency

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It has been very difficult for some to find suitable work due to intense competition in the job market. Many dislocated and displaced workers have turned to temporary agencies to help them get back into the workforce. What are the Advantages and Disadvant

Many individuals have lost their jobs due to the tremendous slow down in the economy.  It has been very difficult for some to find suitable work due to intense competition in the job market. Many dislocated and displaced workers have turned to temporary agencies to help them get back into the workforce. Even after signing with several agencies some individuals still remain unemployed- simply because the agencies don’t have the volume of temp jobs they once had. 

Why?  Because many companies have outsourced work and downsized and don’t have the need for more workers or the funds to pay a temp agency. And for those who have found work by going through a temp agency are glad to have some income coming in, but are not totally satisfied with working for an agency.  Thus, there are some advantages and some disadvantages in working for a temporary agency. If you have never worked for a temporary agency before there are some things that you should be aware of.  Let's take a look at some advantages and disadvantages in working for a temporary service.


Option to apply online

Nowadays you can conveniently apply online with most temporary services.  You will need to call the agency you’re interested in working for to find out whether or not you can apply online.  They should call you to set up an interview once they have received your application and determine that you are a suitable match for a job(s). By completing the application process online, you could minimize the time that you would spend interviewing.

Temp to perm

One great advantage in working for a temporary agency is that you can start out working temporary but end up working permanently. Keep in mind that you will need to prove your ability to deliver excellent work results before an employer will consider hiring you permanently.

Learn new skills

Another advantage in working for a temp agency is that you will have an opportunity to learn new skills and you can add your newly acquired skills to your resume.

Earn while looking for permanent work

You can still look for a permanent job while you are yet working for the agency and earning wages. Bear in mind that you are working on a temporary basis and you should continue to actively look for a suitable job opportunity while you are in between jobs.

Showcase your talents

Working temporary for various companies will give you the opportunity to showcase your remarkable talents.  You just might have the skills and expertise that is needed to help a company that you are temping for achieve its goals.  The employer might see you as a valuable asset to the company and could offer you a permanent position should an opening become available.

Include work experience on your resume

When you have worked with the temp agency for six months or more you can list this as work experience in your resume as to justify employment gaps in your work history. Be sure to list your major accomplishments and core skills that you acquired while working for the agency.

Networking opportunity

This is an excellent time in which to network with other individuals who share the same career interest as you.  Perhaps they can give you some advice as to how you can land a job with the company they are employed with or advise you of other career opportunities elsewhere.

Can file for unemployment

You can apply for your unemployment benefits once you have worked for a period of time provided that the agency was unable to find you work later on.  However, this can be tricky.  For some agencies will try to block your unemployment…stating, refusal to work on your part. This can cause your claim to be denied. Make sure that you are able to prove your case.

Prefer to work temporary

And finally, some individuals prefer to work on a temporary basis for various reasons and choose not to commit to one company permanently.  These individuals are appeased at knowing they won’t be penalized for choosing to only work when it’s convenient for them to do so. They can notify the agency as to when they are seeking temporary work and when they are not available to work.



Short-term assignments

A major disadvantage in working for a temporary agency is that you cannot predict the length of your job assignments.  You can request long-term assignments but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get long-term assignments.  Some companies might request a temp for two days, or two weeks, or one month, or indefinitely…it simply depends upon the need of the company. This can be quite frustrating for individuals who need steady income to meet their expenses, which is most of us.

No work available

Another major disadvantage is…you might call looking for work only to learn that there is no work available at that particular time.  In fact, you might call for several weeks or months only to learn that the agency has no work.  This is so frustrating for most. This is why some job seekers sign up for several agencies in hopes of landing a job through one of them.

No benefits

Unfortunately, some agencies do not offer benefits to their workers.   However, some agencies offer benefits only after you have worked a certain amount of hours but the benefits are limited and can be very costly to you.  You should inquire about the benefits before you register with a temporary agency.

Lower pay

Another disadvantage is that you will not receive the pay that you were accustomed to making when you worked permanently.  The agency charges the companies a certain rate for your services and you will only be paid a percentage of the bill rate.  You will need to negotiate a pay rate before you accept a job assignment. You might also politely ask what percentage of the bill rate you are being paid by the agency.  You should also note that not every assignment pays the same.  It’s up to you whether or not you choose to accept or refuse an assignment.  However, you don’t want to turn down too many assignments, because they might stop calling you and select to call individuals who don’t hesitate to accept job assignments.

Feel like an outcast

When you work for various companies on a temporary basis you might find that some individuals will not embrace you because you are not technically part of the company. You might be excluded from parties, lunch outings, etc. because you are basically an outsider working temporarily. Some employees might also refer to you as "the temp" instead of making a conscious effort to memorize your name...and that's pretty sad.

The blame game

Oftentimes permanent employees want to avoid reprimand from their managers and to cover themselves, will blame the temp(s) (unbeknownst to them) for job errors they’ve caused in the workplace.  They know that the temp will only be there temporarily and may never find out that they’ve been accused for something they did not do.  On the contrary, they may take the credit for work that the temp did as well.

Misleading job assignments

Scenario: You get an offer from your agency to work a particular job and you opt to accept the assignment based upon the job description the recruiter articulated to you.  However, on your first day on the job you discover that the duties are not what you expected.  You were told one thing by the agency but the company gave you something else to do.  For example, the recruiter might tell you that you will be doing strictly accounting work, but you were instructed by the company manger that your duties are to distribute mail and file instead. 

How disappointing! Sometimes this is a matter of miscommunication.  And in some instances the agency staff person failed to give you the complete job description or an updated job description.  Nonetheless, you have the option of calling the agency to explain the situation and to request a different job assignment.  These type incidents will inconvenience you, the company, and the agency.

Conclusion, despite the disadvantages in working for an agency, the bottom line is that a temporary agency is a useful service and can be very instrumental in getting the unemployed back into the workforce.

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