Temp firms say business is good, hiring picking up again

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Temporary hiring is rising again in the Indianapolis area, auguring a better environment for job-seekers, according to local staffing firms and government data.

But the pace of activity has yet to return even to 2008 levels, and staffing executives don’t expect it to for some time.

Employment services in the Indianapolis area reported a work force of nearly 35,000 in September, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s 1,100 more workers than the same month a year ago and 4,000 more than in 2009, just after the nation’s recession officially ended.

But employment agencies would have to place another 2,500 to return to the levels of 2008 and an extra 6,000 to regain the peak seen in 2007.

Economists look at temporary hiring as a leading indicator in the employment market, since recession-weary companies often hire workers on a temporary basis and  later convert them to full-time workers.

“It’s a try-before-you-buy mentality,” said Dave Kehlor, who oversees five Express Employment Professionals offices in the Indianapolis area. “Companies, they need people, but they’re not sure about the future. … The last thing they want to do is bring on a bunch of full-time people.”

Kehlor said Express Employment’s business is booming, with nearly 500 openings its clients want filled. Oklahoma City-based Express Employment recruits individuals and then, in most cases, acts as their employer while the person works on a contract basis for the client company. Most temporary workers are not provided benefits, such as health insurance.

“Unless there’s a shock to the economy, 2012 is going to be a good year,” Kehlor said. “We’re the recovery. When you see us jamming, then you know the recovery’s underway.”

Other employment agencies echo his sentiments. Greenwood-based Apple Tree Staffing announced Tuesday that it is on pace to place 100 workers by spring and another 100 or more by the end of next year.

Apple Tree said it is seeing strong demand for manufacturing and other types of industrial work, as well as for software engineers and sales professionals.

Indianapolis-based Pinnacle Partners, which places information technology and accounting workers, has seen those sectors boom in the last 12 and six months, respectively.

“It’s good and getting better,” said Dave Reese, director of staffing in Pinnacle’s accounting division, which has grown its own staff from seven to 12 in the past six months. “I’m not sure that it’s anywhere near the pre-recession times, and I don’t know whether we’ll see those times again, honestly. Business overall has been very good for us and continues to get better.”

Earlier this year, temp hiring was running even further ahead of of its 2010 pace than it is currently, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, in June and July, temp hiring actually dipped below the levels seen in those months last year. But, in August and September it once again exceeded 2010 levels.

Even as the job market recovers, employment firms expect their clients to use temps for a higher percentage of their work forces than they did before the recession. Part of that is due to the ongoing uncertainty about the strength of the economic recovery and about the extra costs of hiring new workers created by the 2010 health reform law.

But partly it’s also a realization by employers that they can operate effectively even without hiring people full-time.

“You hear this all the time, ‘We’re real busy, but we’re just not sure this is going to last,’” said Kehlor at Express Employment. “So they say, ‘Send me 30 temporary people,’ and then they go, ‘Hey, this works pretty well. If they’re good, then I can keep them. And if they’re bad, then I can just tell the staffing firm to get rid of them and get me some better ones.’ It’s really a flex staffing model.”


  • Bad Reputation for The Staffing Industry
    As mentioned above I don't agree with the concept that you can sling bodies up against the wall and hope they stick. As a person working in the staffing industry I take a deep sense of pride by helping to service our clients and our contractors by matching people up to the right fit...not just any job available. As an employer it is our responsibility to treat people right and look out for their future interests in the job market.
  • Disagree

    ‘Hey, this works pretty well. If they’re good, then I can keep them. And if they’re bad, then I can just tell the staffing firm to get rid of them and get me some better ones.’ It’s really a flex staffing model.”

    This type of mentality is why the staffing industry has a bad reputation in the public’s mind. I work for one of the largest staffing firms in the US and just sending people over for openings to "see what happens" is not how all staffing companies work. The best ones take the time to talk with their contractors, screen them, and then only send them for positions they want and are qualified for. So you do not end up with “bad ones”. Also the overall tone was pretty impersonal, “good ones; bad ones” make the contractors sound like products, and not people. Also not the mentality that recruiters / staffing companies should have.
  • Temp agencies are legal Slave Trade
    Temp Agencies should be outlawed. "Economists look at temporary hiring as a leading indicator in the employment market, since recession-weary companies often hire workers on a temporary basis and later convert them to full-time workers". I was "temp" at SIA in Lafayette for almost 3 years before being converted. Doing the same work as other, but for 10 dollars an hour less. I wouldnt wish being a "temp" on anyone.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1