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View Diary: The secret of the so-called "skills gap" (191 comments)

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  •  the height of this absurdity (22+ / 0-)

    Years ago, I applied for a job at a place near where I lived that I politely turned down when I found out it paid barely above minimum wage despite requiring, as part of the job, the ability to drive multiple unfamiliar cars (and it was not a parking lot, either).

    i knew there was better paying work available elsewhere, so I took that. Primarily, that was temp work.

    One day, one of the temp agencies called and asked if I wanted to work for the day at the place I had turned down. For 50 cents an hour more than what I would have earned if I worked for them directly. Yes, you read that right--I was actually going to be paid more to work there as a temp than a regular employee. I gleefully took the assignment and confirmed that I would be making more in a talk with one of the regular employees. He also told me there were a lot of temps working there every day.

    So, the wages they were offering were so low that they had to hire temps at a higher rate than they offered their own employees to get their work done. I wonder if they ever figured out, or even cared, that it was costing them more money that way (since the temp agency got paid what we did an hour for making us available).

    •  The next time someone tries to tell me (10+ / 0-)

      that private enterprise is "always more efficient than government," I will remember to tell your story as counterargument.


      “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by vahana on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:49:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ha ha. I has a similar experience as an (8+ / 0-)

      accounts payable clerk back in the mid-eighties, so this is nothing new. It was even funnier because in that position I was the one who handled the bill for my services which was more than twice what I was getting paid. Another irony, I had no experience as an accounts payable clerk at that time and they wouldn't have hired me as a permanent employee anyway. Unlike you, I didn't turn down the job. However, as a temp, they didn't expect me to have experience.

    •  actually, it could be cheaper for them (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wbr, fuzzyguy, Dirtandiron, saluda

      even with the agency fee, because temps don't get benefits.

      Temps don't have to have half their FICA paid.  Temps don't require payment to workers comp.  Temps don't get health insurance.  Temps don't get sick days, vacation days, personal days, maternity/paternity/family leave.

      Companies also avoid the cost of background checks and payroll processing for temps.

      Temps can be fired at will without any legal repercussions.

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
      Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:05:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the temp agency *does* pay (2+ / 0-)

        FICA.  And many agencies also offer health insurance/paid time off for those employees who work x number of hours for the agency.  (yeah, yeah, how often does that actually happen ... but there are long-term assignments out there where that x number of hours would be met).  That's part of why they charge twice whatever is paid to the temp employee.

        And payroll processing can't be that expensive with all the automatic processes there are, can it?

        God help us if background checks become the norm - I have never applied for a position where a background check was one of the requirements.  My life is so dull that I'm sure the employer would fall asleep reading a background check on me, so it's not like I'm afraid of having one done, but seriously?  A background check for every position?

        •  the agency pays the FICA (0+ / 0-)

          the company hiring you does not.

          and yes there are agencies that provide health care on long term assignments.

          computerized background checks just look to see if you have an arrest record.  they can be done on line.

          the main reason companies hire temps is not to save money, although it probably does save them some money otherwies they wouldn't do it.

          mostly they want the flexbillity--the kind of hire and fire at will that you don't have with permanent employees (in addition to not having to pay benefits)

          companies want to have 6 workers this week and 11 workers the week after that and 3 workers the week after that without complaints

          "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
          Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

          by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:22:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Just as an interesting factoid ... (2+ / 0-)

      ... whatever a temp agency is paying you, they are charging double that to the company you're working at.  

      I did data entry and was paid $8.00 an hour by the temp agency.  The agency I was employed by charged $16.00 an hour for me to sit there and enter data into a screen.  I was offered a permanent job at the place because I was good at it (I essentially worked myself out of a job within about 6 weeks), and guess what they wanted to pay me?  Yep.  $8.00 an hour.

      (sound of gears stripping)

      So they were willing to pay $16.00 an hour for a temp, but only $8.00 an hour for a permanent employee (and their benefits weren't that great, either)?

      What's wrong with this picture?  Were they getting a big tax break by using temp employees and writing it off as a cost of business?  Were the benefits offered such that it was actually cheaper to use temps?

      I would have loved to hear their reasoning ...

    •  Most likely, the employer was willing to pay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      temps a little bit more than full-time employees because he saved more than that difference by not having to pay the temps any benefits.

      It's the same mentality expressed by "Papa John" Schnatter and the Waltons -- limit the hours employees can work so that they can be classified as "part-time" and thus not have to be given benefits.

      We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

      by NoMoJoe on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:00:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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