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Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey

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Abstract

This paper examines which employers use flexible staffing arrangements, why they use these arrangements, and their implications for workers and public policy, drawing on a nationally representative survey of private sector establishments. Use of flexible staffing arrangements -- including temporary help agency, short-term, on-call, regular part-time, and contract workers -- is widespread and two-thirds of employers believe this use will increase in the near future. Traditional reasons concerning the need to accommodate fluctuations in workload or absences in staff are the most commonly cited reasons for using all types of flexible staffing arrangements. Many employers also use agency temporaries and part- time workers to screen candidates for regular positions. Finally, savings on benefits costs is an important factor determining employers' use of flexible staffing arrangements. Workers in flexible staffing arrangements typically are not covered by regulations governing benefits, and they typically do not receive key benefits, like pension benefits and health insurance, when these benefits are offered to regular full-time workers.
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  • Susan N. Houseman, "undated". "Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles snh2001, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:snh2001 Note: Appears in Industrial and Labor Relations Review 55(1): 149-170
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    1. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, "undated". "Inter-Industry and Inter-Region Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," Working Papers 9504, SELAPO Center for Human Resources.
    2. Katharine G. Abraham, 1988. "Flexible Staffing Arrangements and Employers' Short-Term Adjustment Strategies," NBER Working Papers 2617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Abraham, Katharine G & Taylor, Susan K, 1996. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 394-424, July.
    5. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
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    9. Susan N. Houseman & Anne E. Polivka, 1999. "The Implications of Flexible Staffing Arrangements for Job Stability," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 99-56, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    10. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    flexible staffing; labor demand; contingent workers; part-time workers;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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