JOBSHOP – A temp(t)ing offer

Is temporary employment the new flavour of the future? HT PowerJobs investigates
Ten years ago most of us would have balked at the idea of doing a temporary job or what is popularly called ‘temping’. Not any longer. According to a survey conducted in October 2006 by TeamLease, a staffing solutions company, the number of temporary workers across India is now three lakh as against 15,000 in 2003. The short of it While a permanent, fulltime job is still the norm, labour markets are changing worldwide. The ‘job-for-life’ maxim is being replaced with life-long learning, gaining multiple skills and a working life with several career profiles and flexible hours.

Pang Su Kong, General Manager, Corporate Development-Asia, Staff Service, says, “Temp staffing is more like contract staffing, where we put someone in a company for three, six or nine months. The target clients are fresh graduates, mid-level managers looking for consultancy work and homemakers. We look at placements in retail, insurance and even some white-collared clerical jobs.”

The three-party contract includes the temping firm, client and employee. Temporary workers are employed by staffing companies and sent to work on specific projects for their clients. “Temp staffing is here to stay. Although the market for temp staffing in India has taken off, it will focus primarily on the IT and BPO industries. And in the next five years temping will increase exponentially to include retail and banking,” points Harish Bhattiprolu, Director, Sales, Kenexa Technologies.

According to the TeamLease survey, there has been a consolidation in the temp staffing business since it started in 2002. While firms are growing every year, their headcount has not kept pace with the rate of growth. Therefore, most firms take recourse to temp staffing. To temp or not to temp “An interesting trend is people who are 40-plus and are becoming more amenable to temp staffing,” says Gautam Sinha, CEO of TVA Infotech, a tech company that often hires temps. Salary The salary levels of temps are also closer to the salary levels of permanent employees. The TeamLease report has found that education levels influenced all levels of compensation. The better qualified you are, the more you can expect to earn.

According to Jaychandran Pillai of Alps Management, a hiring firm, temps sometimes get a 20 per cent higher salary than regular employees, especially for specific time-bound projects.

While the average salary in the lower management rung is around Rs. 8,500 per month, for middle levels it is Rs. 50,000 and at senior levels, it can go up to Rs 4.5 lakh per month. Temping trends The industries that hire temp staff include New Age ones like telecom, retail, banking and financial services. “But even conventional brick and mortar companies are receptive to the idea,” claims MD, Ajit Isaac of Peopleone Consulting,