Applicants often ask me what I think of temporary work. Especially when they have been looking for work for a long time, some of them play with this thought. In my perception, temporary work still has a bad image in the world of work. Right? I asked Stephan Rathgeber from ManpowerGroup, one of the largest personnel service providers in Germany. He explains what temporary work is and whether there is something to the prejudice. At the end of this article, I am also interested in your opinion. What experiences do you have with personnel service providers and temporary work? Take part in my survey following the interview.
What exactly is temporary work, Mr. Rathgeber?
Stephan Rathgeber: Temporary work describes an employment relationship in which employees are permanently employed by a personnel service provider and work in alternating assignments at customer companies. The employer is the temporary employment agency, but the employee performs his work in the company that needs him and his labor. The employee’s employment contract is between him and the personnel service provider.
Are there typical jobs or industries in which temporary work is used?
Stephan Rathgeber: Companies from a wide variety of industries use temporary work for short-term or long-term personnel solutions. The working model is particularly widespread in the areas of industry, technology, services, warehouse, logistics, and production as well as in the commercial area, such as purchasing, sales, and finance.
And for whom is temporary work an alternative to permanent employment?
Stephan Rathgeber: Temporary work brings people into jobs that are subject to social insurance. Over 60% of people who start temporary work were previously unemployed or even long-term unemployed. For them, temporary work is the leap back into working life. As a personnel service provider, we can help you with this. But we also mediate newcomers, switchers, and job changers. We offer jobs that are not advertised anywhere, especially at large and well-known companies with which we work closely.
What is the truth of the prejudices that temporary workers have to contend with?
Stephan Rathgeber: Temporary work is sometimes still frowned upon, wrongly, because it has many advantages. On the one hand, it serves as a springboard back into working life and serves as a door opener for companies that you might otherwise not be able to enter. On the other hand, temporary workers have the same rights as other employees who, like them, are employed for an unlimited period and subject to social security contributions. The difference lies in the alternating assignments, which enable you to gain a lot of professional experience within a short period of time. This can be particularly attractive for graduates and young professionals.
Temporary workers often feel like second-class colleagues. Is it really them, and what do you recommend?
Stephan Rathgeber: There is no reason to feel like a second-class employee because our employees are permanent and have social security contributions. Temporary workers have the same rights as all workers, e.g. B. for protection against dismissal, and they receive an employment contract with the pension, health, unemployment, long-term care, and accident insurance, paid vacation, and continued wages in the event of illness. They also have the opportunity to take part in further training. Both temporary employment agencies and customer companies have the same duty of care towards temporary employees and permanent staff.
The main difference is that your location changes. If the assignment with a customer company ends and there is still no follow-up assignment, we bridge the time with qualification measures, such as welding courses or training measures in the area of warehouse and logistics. Companies must inform temporary workers at accessible places about vacancies or jobs that are becoming vacant. So you always have a real chance of a direct “internal application”.
Also, Manpower offers all temporary workers free access to eLearning. There are several hundred different courses available (such as MS Office, SAP courses, etc.). Besides, our employees benefit from comprehensive company health management, including check-ups, a free hotline to an independent company medical center, health days, and health talks.
The advantages for employers are obvious. When is temporary work a good decision for employees too?
Stephan Rathgeber: Whether with an apprenticeship, a university degree, or as a specialist with many years of experience, temporary employment offers a wide range of perspectives for all newcomers, people changing, lateral, or re-entry. With just one application, candidates have the chance to work for companies that they might not otherwise get into.
Also, we offer our employees targeted further training and qualification measures so that they can further increase their employment opportunities and career opportunities. Last but not least, there is also the option of takeover by the customer company.
Temporary work is therefore not a one-way street, it can even be a stepping stone. It is also worthwhile for university graduates to start a job via temporary work. In this way, you can get to know different companies and gain valuable work experience.
Many temporary workers hope to be taken on permanently afterward. What are your experiences?
Stephan Rathgeber: There is always a good chance of a takeover in the customer company. However, we have also found that not all of our employees accept takeover bids. Because our employees are usually employed with us for an unlimited period and, depending on their commitment, they earn as much or even more than regular employees of the customer company.
And what advice do you give them, when and how they can raise the issue of takeovers?
Stephan Rathgeber: Often the personnel experts at Manpower in the branches already know during an interview whether the position to be filled has an option to be taken on. However, you shouldn’t be put off if you are planning a short-term vacancy or illness replacement.
If an employee fits well into the company, opportunities are often found in other departments or a short-term position is extended because the employee is needed longer. The longer you are in a company, the more you get to know possible areas of application.
How openly do companies today deal with the fact that they use temporary work – keyword employer branding?
Stephan Rathgeber: The reputation of temporary work and temporary employment agencies, in general, has developed positively in recent years. The collective agreements agreed with the trade unions, the Temporary Employment Act, and the industry surcharges have ensured that customer companies are also more open about temporary work.
What trends are you observing in the labor market in terms of temporary work?
Stephan Rathgeber: The number of people who work as temporary workers in Germany has risen sharply in recent years. In 2003 there were 282,000 people, today there are 993,000, which is around 3 percent of total employment.
With the entry into force of the new reform of the Temporary Employment Act (AÜG) on April 1, 2017, which stipulates a maximum leasing period for temporary workers at a customer company of 18 months and “equal pay” after 9 months, the industry will gain image through higher earning opportunities win and that will also make recruiting easier.