In fact for an Northwest employer to attract a high performing  temporary or contract employee to their workforce, a 3-6 month assignment is almost a must.  Twelve month or longer temporary or contract assignments are becoming a workforce norm.

With the 1-2 day/week temporary assignment business all but vanished from the Northwest staffing scene, Northwest employers are becoming much more strategic about how long they keep temporary employees on assignment.    The  short term “fill in for an absent employee” use of temporary staff has been replaced by the employer’s preference for using temporary employees as part of a much larger staffing strategy focused on agility, flexibility, and a growing need for “on demand” talent.

For my company, PACE Staffing Network, our average length of assignment in 2015 was 565 hours.  Today its closer to 700 – and that’s the average, with many assignments lasting much longer.

Flying in the face of the once popular assumption that how long a temporary or contract employee was on assignment might impact their status as an employee, today’s workforce savvy employers know there  are no “hard stops” for how long a temporary or contract employee can remain on assignment without legal threat.  As long as both parties agree, temporary assignments can last several years.  Companies are now making length of assignment decisions or designing length of assignment policies based on real business needs – not on legal or availability decisions.

Employees are much more motivated than ever before to join employers for interim roles, enjoying the challenge of going from employer to employer to learn something new without earning the bad wrap of “job hopper”.

Temporary staffing companies are responding in kind – becoming more like direct hire recruiting partners than “temporary staffing” vendors.

There are FIVE factors driving this trend toward longer term temporary assigments…




Do some employers abuse the good will of their temporary employees by keeping them in temporary roles too long?

From what we hear from some of the employees we interview for temporary roles,  it happens.  We hear employees complain that they were promised a chance to be hired direct after 3 months but then let go after a year – with no real explanation as to why the “agreement” changed.   And many times the reasons why some “temps” are hired and others not is not always clear, creating opportunities for mistrust and resentments.

What we find is that the  culprit in many of the situations that turn out to be less than positive  isn’t always a negligent employer but poor communications between the employer, their temporary staffing partner, and the employee – ie. promises made that weren’t kept, vague agreements about what performance would be required for the employee to be hired, how long assignments are intended to last, and under what circumstances  an assignment would be ended, etc.

In an upcoming blog we’re going to feature some of the “best practices” that have been developed to address some of the issues  that can develop when temporary employees are in the workforce for longer periods of time – either with or without an opportunity to be hired direct.   What can employers do to make sure their longer term ‘temps” stay motivated and engaged throughout the length of their assignment whether its 3, 6 or 12 months.

Stay tuned!



PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.

A  4 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact us at 425-637-3312 or e mail our Partner Solutions  team  at partnerservices@pacestaffing.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *