Who will be the country's
largest private employer in the next two to three years? If your
guess is one of the bellwether IT companies such as Infosys, HCL
or Wipro, think again. It could well be a human resource firm.
Temporary staffing, hitherto the exclusive preserve of the unorganised
players, is fast gaining ground with corporates, as more and more
organised temporary staffing players are entering the fray. Right
from a college student to a 50-year-old professional can find
a temp job in the corporate world. Temping opportunities exist
across all industries and almost all job functions. Sectors such
as manufacturing, retail, logistics, IT/ITES, FMCG, telecom, and
financial services are appointing temps in large numbers.
Although temp staffing has always existed, it operated in a
local, almost informal fashion. Temping was usually routed through
small agencies, chartered accountancy firms and locals who were
into small-time placements for corporates. While a permanent,
full-time job may still be the norm, labour markets worldwide
are changing. The 'job-for-life' is being replaced with life-long
learning, multi-skilling and a working life with multiple careers
and flexible hours. Temp jobs help you network and don a variety
of hats. They can be enticing enough to even draw people with
Temping has many advantages: it helps you develop new skills,
gives you broader experience and provides you the opportunity
to work with various levels of management. Sensing the huge opportunity,
multinational staffing companies like Manpower, Ma Foi, Kelly
Services and Adecco SA have already set up bases in India and
are growing rapidly. Advocates of the temp recruitment model say
it helps companies to remain agile, enabling them to expand and
contract their workforce and their expenses with the ebb and flow
of the market. Because companies can select people with the exact
skills they are seeking for a specific amount of time, temps are
often an ideal, if temporary, solution. More and more companies
are beginning to understand what benefits these short-term assignments
can bring to an organisation.
This is despite the fact that temping in India is still mostly
confined to low-end jobs like billing and so on, unlike in the
West where temps are usually hired to fix a critical problem or
facilitate a major transition. But Indian staffing companies believe
that these are early days yet and the trend will catch up fast
in India, too.
Staffing companies also say that temporary staffing helps workers
to get jobs and companies to expand their headcount even when
market conditions are uncertain. Data from several countries clearly
brings out this trend. If companies were forced to employ only
full-time workers on a permanent basis, they would have to either
forgo the opportunity to expand production to meet the rise in
demand, or incur excess costs for surplus staff during lean periods.
Temp salaries are decent enough. While the remuneration depends
on experience, qualification, the job function, sector and the
city where the opening is, an HR executive can get a starting
salary of Rs 7,000. While the average salary in the lower management
rung is around Rs 7,500 per month, for middle levels, it is Rs
35,000 and at senior levels, it can go up to Rs 4.5 lakh per month.
Though temp jobs are not yet giving permanent jobs a run for their
money, at times, temps can earn more than permanent employees.
Industry experts believe that the gap between the pay packages
of leased and permanent employees could be as wide as 40 per cent.