Alternative staffing

Alternative staffing
See also

Alternative staffing is also known as alternative work arrangements. They refer to situations in which either the employee is provided by an intermediary, or the employee’s time, place and quantity of work is potentially uncertain. The 1995 February CPS supplement rules out four alternative employment arrangements: independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers and workers provided by contract firms [1].

The independent contractors refer to individuals working as freelance workers or independent consultants, in the character of wage and salary workers as well as the self-employeed. On call workers, are notified and granted work only as needed, however they can be assigned a schedule which covers a particular amount of time (ex. couple of days or weeks). The temporary help agency workers include people receiving payment from temporary help agencies, however it is not determined that their job must be temporary, as oppossed to the payment. The last type of alternative staffing - workers provided by contract firms - refer to the arrangement, in which a particular firm aquires employees, by cooperating with another company who outsources it's employees. These type of workers usually provide their services at the customers worksite and are assigned only to one customer [2].

Organizations engaged in alternative staffing[edit]

For the last 20 years, staffing services have greatly developed in matching workers and jobs. These organizations function both as the employee, as well as the employer. To the workers who are outsourced they are the employer, by providing them with a job opportunity, and to the firm who actually benefits from said worker, these companies function as employees, by delivering a service. These intermediaries ca be divided into three groups [3]:

  • Community based organizations - their activities are focused on employment and economic development. The utmost importance for this type of organization is employment access, job quality and job transition. They mainly provide temporary employment, due to the fact that it has become a primary means of hiring in many cases.
  • Non-governmental organizations - mainly concerned with the improvment of job quality and access for disadvantaged workers. These individuals include people who have limited experience in the job market or/and who have came across barriers in the search for employment due to their personal history and/or current family or life situation.
  • Fee-for service job-brokering - for-profit organizations focused on providing regular staffing or temporary help. The workers outsourced by these organizations tend to be low-skilled as well as mid-skilled. As opposed to professionals, workers bearing fewer skills are limited in areas such as lateral mobility over the development of their careers and posess less mechanisms able to facilitate their access to employment.


  1. A.E. Polivka 1996, p.6
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018
  3. F. Carré, J. Herranz Jr. , D. Seavey, C. Vickers , A. Aull, R. Keegan 2003 p. 6


Author: Marta Marzec