NATSSNational Association of Temporary and Staffing Services
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"The employment process is fraught with legal land mines," warns a NATSS pamphlet.
"We have a very strong position on this," says NATSS spokesperson Bruce Steinberg.
NATSS likes to say that the industry offers workers a "bridge to full-time employment." The idea is that temp jobs give workers an opportunity to showcase themselves to potential bosses - without requiring any commitment from the boss.
A 1995 NATSS survey of former temps found that 64 percent of the ex-temps had found full-time jobs.
Workers who "take responsibility for their careers" by "developing a portfolio of skills in demand by business organizations," an NATSS brochure explains, can "ensure themselves of the continuing ability to make a living." Temp agencies, the argument goes, can help workers gain these skills, both on the job and through training offered by the agencies themselves.
In a NATSS survey, 35 percent of temps said they had received one to five hours of training from the temp agency in the past year; 30 percent said they had received over 20 hours of training.
Figure 1 shows total employment in the personnel supply industry and its principal components: employment agencies (SIC 7361) as tracked by the BLS, and temporary help supply firms as tracked by the BLS until 1989 and NATSS thereafter.
While little information is publicly available on temporary firm markup rates, NATSS reports that total temporary supply firm receipts are approximately 50 percent more than their total payroll, suggesting that the average markup is approximately 50 percent.(11)
In a 1993 NATSS survey, more than one-third of temporary workers reported being offered full-time employment by a firm for which they had worked on assignment.(16)
NATSS reports that in 1993, 29 percent of the temporary work force received more than 20 hours of training from their temporary help company.
Until this year, NATSS was known as the National Association of Temporary Services (NATS).
6 The estimates are largely compatible with the 1989 estimates for the entire personnel supply industry from the household employment survey (35 percent administrative and support, and 10 percent farm, craft, operators, transport, and handlers) and the 1992 estimates for all temporary workers from NATSS (46.6 percent clerical, 27.5 percent industrial, 10.2 percent technical.