by Aaron Burns

President Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6 in Charlotte was scheduled for the 73,298-seat Bank of America Stadium.

Due to weather concerns, it didn’t happen there. But the stadium was prepared for it had it not been moved. The necessary wiring and electrical cable work needed to have the venue ready didn’t come entirely from full-time workers, either.

People hired from locally based staffing agencies played a major role. Some of those who handled the cable technician responsibilities were temporary employees hired from Verigent, a staffing agency with an office in Mooresville.

“A lot of the cable technicians we sent in were from the area,” said Verigent Marketing Coordinator Brittany Keenan. “We placed them at those jobs, and they handled the cable work needed in the stadium. We have a lot of (workers who are) in the area.”

Verigent is one of two area temporary staffing agencies. The Charlotte Business Journal reported it places 290 people in temporary jobs every week. Verigent specializes in hiring people with telecommunications, information technology, audiovisual or access control (security) experience.

Verigent also works with national businesses such as Hewlett-Packard and The Hartford.

Strataforce, a Greene Group company with an office in Davidson, provides the same service as Verigent, but for people with different specialties.

Strataforce works with people in several sectors: manufacturing, distribution, truck drivers, lab technicians, hematology, certified pathology, toxicology technologists, clinical lab positions, medical lab technicians, information technology positions as well as accounting and clerical work.

Payroll Manager Suzanne Wood said Strataforce hasn’t researched the number of people seeking temporary jobs now versus in the past, but the company has “lots of unemployed individuals who apply for work.”

“Currently, Strataforce (offers) assignments in the Charlotte and Mooresville markets” in addition to across the nation, Wood said. Numbers for Strataforce’s database were unavailable.

Verigent has a database of 85,000 people it can assign to jobs based on need.

As the economy works to recover, more people are turning to temporary jobs as a starting point for employment.

The reason? It’s a good way to figure out whether you’re a good candidate for a certain job, Keenan said.

“(Temporary workers) do contract work to help them get experience, too,” she continued.

However, the benefits extend to employees and employers.

Businesses who use temporary workers don’t traditionally provide them with health insurance and pay packages because of their short work periods. Keenan said temporary workers hired from Verigent spend as little as a day to as long as three months on a project.

Wood said Strataforce’s prospective employees can expect jobs to range from a week to a year.

Both companies have offices across the nation who help people find jobs.

A primary negative – shared by employees and companies – is that temporary workers may not be offered extended work or full-time jobs. Although there have been examples of permanent workers starting in temporary positions.

Keenan concurred, saying some temporary workers have gotten full-time job offers once their work is finished, depending on the company’s long-term needs at the position and the salaries being offered.

As more people work with temporary staffing agencies, businesses benefit from having larger resource pools, said Keenan, who admitted that it’s tougher to find temporary jobs.

From application to being placed usually takes one to three weeks, based on the company’s need, Keenan said.  Popular thinking was that temporary jobs were often filled the same day or a few days after applying for a position.

Wood said that’s not always the case.

“We have more candidates applying for work (than we have) job openings,” Wood said.

Healthcare, sales, information technology and engineering temporary jobs are the hottest at the moment, according to a Monster Finance Careers Report.

However, those applying for temporary jobs should expand their searches beyond their current line of work or experience levels, according to University of North Carolina-Charlotte Career Center Senior Assistant Director Rebecca Cody.

That extends to those seeking full-time or temporary employment, including recent graduates and students about to graduate.

“We encourage students to search and be as flexible as they can be to exercise all their options,” Cody said. “You shouldn’t limit your search to one company or industry. That applies to anybody in this current economy.”

As the number of temporary jobs and the number of businesses seeking temporary workers continues to grow, that means more work for staffing agencies.

“We take pride in placing employees with the right client,” Keenan said. “Employers (also) want to make sure they’re getting placed with the right fit.”

Facts about temporary

staffing agencies

• Staff agencies employ 2.98 million people every business day

• U.S. staffing firms hire 12.9 million temporary and contract employees annually

• 79 percent of employees at staffing agencies work on a full-time basis

• 90 percent of businesses who use staffing agencies say they give them flexibility to stay staffed during busy times

• 90 percent of companies also provide training at no cost to temporary or contract employees

• The number of temporary workers with employment rose 7.8 percent from Sept. 2010 to Sept. 2011

Courtesy of the American Staffing Association and Monster.com