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Contract Technical Staffing

What is contract technical staffing?

Basic definitions.

We're looking for a few good definitions! The definitions of staffing industry terminology often vary from one company, business sector or statistical report to the next. So what is contract technical staffing? Here is Continental Design & Engineering's definition.

Contract Technical Staffing: Most people are familiar with the conventional employee-employer relationship, where a person is hired by a company in a long-term relationship at which an employee could spend their entire career. When a company needs technical employees on a shorter-term basis, to handle a backlog or a "spike" in the workload, the company has two choices:

First, they can spend the effort and expense to search, interview and hire new employees and then lay them off afterwards, assuming the qualified staff can be found. Or, second, they can call an employment company such as Continental and hire one of Continental's technical employees to do the job.

In the second option, the company contracts Continental to provide Continental's technical staff for the job. When the job is completed, the Continental contract technical staff returns to Continental for reassignment to another job. All contract technical staff benefits (medical, vacation, holidays, etc.) are paid by Continental, and there is no unemployment cost to the client company. Contract technical staffing greatly reduces cost, paperwork and HR functions for the company while giving them instant access to the technical resources they need.

Continental Design & Engineering delivers a wide range of flexible tech staffing services and is happy to answer any questions regarding the nuts-and-bolts details how these technical staffing solutions work and can be implemented to save you money. Please call 800 875-4557 and ask to speak with a Technical Staffing Recruiter.

Following are some helpful basic staffing industry definitions that will help answer what is contract technical staffing and related staffing services. They are based on the Staffing Industry Analysts, Inc. (SIA) glossary.

Technical Staffing Definitions

Candidate -- An applicant for a job who has been pre-qualified for a specific position or a general category of jobs. Also used to distinguish an individual from a pool of unqualified applicants.

Contingency Placement -- The practice of charging a fee to either the applicant or the employer only after a successful referral of the applicant to the employer for employment. (Compare: Retained Search)

Contingency Recruiting (Search) -- Refers to Senior Management recruitment or executive level searches, with payment of all or most of the fee contingent on the hiring of a referred candidate.

Contract Services -- The provision of supervised services under contract, for a specific project or period of time. "Contract Services" implies a fee-for-service pay structure that can be at a fixed rate or at an hourly rate. (See also: Contract Staffing.)

Contract Staffing -- A diffuse term in general use which usually implies a "co-employment" relationship where a labor contractor supplies staff to a third party for a specific function and time period, at a specified hourly rate. (See also: Contract Services.)

Contract Technical Employee -- A temporary employee with technical skills who is employed for an extended period by a contract technical firm but works at, and is supervised on a day-to-day basis by that firm's client. Typical contract technical jobs are engineer, draftsperson, designer, technical writer and editor, illustrator, programmer, and systems analyst. Job length typically is 3-12 months but may extend to two years or longer. (See also: Technical Services Firm.)

Customized Services -- Staffing services that are customized to meet a particular client's needs. Examples are pre-training on a client's specific applications or software, or the production of orientation materials such as videos and manuals that are client specific.

Direct Employment -- A two-way direct employment relationship between a worker and an employer, with no third party, employment agency, broker or co-employer involved.

Employment Agency (Private) -- A for-profit, private entity that brings together a job seeker and a prospective employer, for a fee, for the purpose of effecting a permanent employment relationship. In a vast majority of cases the new employer pays the fee.

Employment Services - Employee or employment-finding, employment-enhancing, or employment-related services (such as training, screening, testing, interviewing, sourcing, career counseling, résumé preparation) provided to an employer, or former employee (in the case of outplacement).

EPF -- Employer Paid Fee to an employment agency for a permanent job placement.

Executive Search -- Refers to the process of recruiting for Senior Management Executives, managers or professionals, usually in a "retained" capacity.

Facilities Management -- The ongoing management of an entire facility, function, or department at a customer site, usually including responsibility for hiring, training, and management of staff, as well as the provision of equipment and supplies necessary to perform the contracted function, by an outside vendor. Assigned staffs are usually permanent employees of the service provider, though temporaries may also be used in a routine or supplemental way.

Facilities Staffing -- The provision of temporary workers to handle a particular facility, department, or function for a customer. Although first line supervision of these workers is sometimes managed through the temporary employer, ultimate supervision and management responsibility for the product or service of the department, or the outsourced function, is retained by the customer. Typically, these are considered to be "temporary help" arrangements, even though they may be for an indefinite period. "Facilities staffing" is often sold as a way to maintain high productivity in high-turnover, high-burnout positions such as telephone work, data entry operations, or repetitive assembly work.

Flexible Staffing -- A generic term used to convey the use of various nontraditional work approaches, such as contract employment arrangements.

Freeway (Job) Shopper/Subway Shopper -- A contract technical employee who accepts technical job assignments only within a limited geographic area, usually without relocation or per diem compensation. (See also: Road (Job) Shopper)

Full Service -- The provision of both temporary help and permanent placement by a single staffing service. Today, as staffing services provide an ever-broader array of human resource consulting and strategic staffing options, full service also has a much broader connotation, implying a complete set of staffing solutions which may also include executive search, career consulting, PEO (Professional Employee Organization) arrangements, vendor management, on-premise responsibilities, contract employee management, and HR consulting .

Headhunting -- A term used to describe Retained Executive Search services.

In-house Work -- "In-house work" depends on who is saying it. For a technical services firm it describes a situation in which a technical services firm conducts projects for customers at its own facility. If a customer is saying it, "in-house" refers to work done at their facility.

Just-In-Time Staffing (JIT Staffing) -- A loosely used term that equates "flexible staffing" arrangements with the concept of "just-in-time" inventory control or delivery of parts for a manufacturing process. Rather than carrying inventory (or permanent employees), arrangements are made with a supplier to deliver parts (or help supply workers) just at the time when they are needed in the work process.

Labor Contracting (Labor Leasing) -- The provision of labor to a third party, usually providing limited or no benefits to the workers and for a limited time. Most commonly used to describe agricultural and construction contract labor arrangements. Sometimes used more broadly to include employee or staff leasing, temporary help, and other business services such as cleaning and security.

Long-term -- Usually refers to employment of more than a year, but in some cases assignments more than six months are considered to be "long-term." There is no legal guideline of what actually constitutes "long-term" in relationship to jobs or employment. (See also: Short-Term.)

Long-term Staffing -- Sometimes described as "facilities staffing" when workers from a staffing service are conducting a specific function for a customer on an ongoing, indefinite basis, it also refers to long-term assignments. Workers are most commonly recruited by the staffing services, although the customer, because of specific skills requirements of the positions, may be in the best position to locate the worker or workers.

Managed Services/Managed Staffing -- Term used to describe facilities support management and outsourcing services. Refers to the on-site supervision or management of a function or department at a client (customer) site on an ongoing, indefinite basis; often the staffing service has output responsibilities and accountability. (See also: Facilities Staffing.)

Off-Site -- Business services provided for a client (customer) at the service provider's location, not at the client premises.

On-Site -- Vendored or outsourced services provided to the client (customer) at the client site.

On-Site Management -- On-site management of a department or function by the supplier. (See also: Facilities Management, Managed Staffing.)

On-Site Supervision -- On-site supervision by the supplier. (See also: Facilities Staffing.)

Outsourcing -- Use of an outside business services vendor (and its supervised personnel), either on the customer's premises or off-site at the vendor's location, to perform a function or run a department that was previously staffed and supervised by the customer directly. (Sometimes, but not necessarily, limited to situations where some or all of the customer's previous staff performing that function are hired by the outsourcing vendor.)

Partnering -- Long-term commitments focusing on "win-win" relationships between customers and suppliers (or among suppliers) that add value to both parties through increased sales, reduced expenses, and/or greater productivity.

Payroll Service -- A business service that provides payroll processing, paycheck writing, and payroll tax administration, for a fee. No co-employer or joint employer relationship exists; it is plainly an administrative function.

Perm -- Short for permanent, usually permanent placement (as compared to a contract or short-term employment).

Permanent Placement -- The bringing together of a job seeker and a prospective employer for the purpose of effecting a " permanent" employment relationship, for a fee. Also refers to the process of arranging such a relationship. (See also: Placement.)

Personnel Supply Services -- The industry segment that provides employment services, and temporary employees to organizations, for a fee.

Place -- The act of placing a job applicant in a job. This can be used when referring to temporary workers or "permanent" workers.

Placement -- "Placement" generally implies the marketing of applicants to employers, or the recruitment of applicants for a specific employer position.

Placement Services -- Services provided by a staffing service to a client company to locate a properly skilled employee with the ultimate goal of a permanent, full-time employer-employee relationship with the client; may include "temp-to-perm" services (See also: Temporary to Permanent.)

Recruiting -- The process of locating and screening a candidate or candidates for an employer as part of a search assignment. Also used to describe overall general efforts to bring in temporary employees. "Recruitment" generally implies the search for candidates who meet specific client specifications rather than the marketing of available applicants to employers.

Refer, Referral -- The act of sending a specific applicant or candidate from an agency to a client for consideration for employment. Also can refer to one search professional's sending a candidate to another search professional who may have an open order that fits that candidate.

Retained Search -- Pre-paid or contracted Service provided by an executive search firm to locate a candidate for a specific position at a client company. Fee is payable whether or not hire is made.

Road (Job) Shopper -- Refers to a "job shopper" who takes long-term assignments requiring relocation and is usually paid Per diem in addition to an hourly wage.

Search/Search Assignment -- The process of recruiting a candidate for a specific position with an employer. A search may be contracted for on a retained or contingency basis. (See also: Contingency Recruiting, Retained Search.)

Short-Term -- Refers to a work assignment of limited duration. The duration implied here is open to some debate. Most would agree that "short-term" means employment of a year or less. Some companies use six months as a cut-off for all temporary assignments; others use 1,000 or 1,500 hours to ensure compliance with federal legislation regarding mandated coverage. The U.S. Federal Government in its use of temporary employees provided by private-sector staffing companies allows a maximum of 240 workdays in a 24-month period.

Single Source Supplier -- The provision of staffing services employees through a single supplier source.

Staffing (Services) Industry -- A broad grouping of staffing and employment related services where a supplier, broker, agent, or consultant provides employment or employees to a client customer.

Strategic Staffing -- The pre-planned use of alternative or flexible staffing strategies by the customer. May include the use of temp-to-perm hiring, or planned temporary staffing for work cycle peaks or projects, for example.

Supplemental Staffing -- The provision of temporary workers to a client company to supplement the current workforce for peak loads, special projects, or planned and unplanned worker absences.

Technical Services -- A segment of the temporary help market that includes computer programmers, systems analysts, designers, drafters, writers, editors, engineers, and illustrators.

Technical Services Firm -- A firm that locates, recruits, and hires technical and/or engineering skilled personnel and then contracts with another company to assign its workers at the customer's location for a specified duration and/or project. (See also: Contract Technical Employee.)

Technical Temporaries -- See also Contract Technical Employee.

Temp -- Common abbreviation or colloquial expression for "temporary worker."

Temporary Agency -- A misnomer but used often to describe a temporary help service. A temporary help service is not an agency, because it is the actual employer of the temporary rather than its "agent." However, it appears that "temporary agency" has become forever embedded in the vocabulary of customers, the media, and just about everybody else.

Temporary Employee ("Temporary") -- An employee who works for a staffing service fulfilling client assignments.

Temporary Help -- The furnishing of employees to meet the short-term and/or project needs of another employer. Originally used primarily as replacements for office or light industrial workers, temporary help has come to be used across a broad range of skills and occupations to substitute for employees on leave, on vacation, or in emergencies, or to provide supplemental support where there are temporary skills shortages or specific projects or peak load needs.

Temporary Help Company -- An organization engaged in the business service of furnishing its own employees ("temporaries") to handle customers' temporary staffing needs and special projects. A temporary help company recruits, trains, and tests these employees, then assigns them to clients for a finite (albeit sometimes very extended) time period.

Temporary Help Industry -- A segment of the staffing industry that provides temporary help and related staffing services to businesses and other clients. The temporary staff provided are recruited, screened, possibly trained, and employed by the temporary help provider, then assigned to the customer at a markup. Although the customer typically assumes supervisory responsibility for these workers, in certain service arrangements the supplier may provide coordination or supervisory functions.

Temporary Placement -- Another misnomer that is often used to distinguish between the temporary help services of a "full service" firm and its "permanent placement" activities.

Temporary-to-Permanent -- (Abbr. Temp-to-perm.) An employment service concept where a client company plans to make a permanent placement hiring decision during or after a temporary help assignment. In a "temp-to-perm" situation, only temporary workers who are also seeking a similar type of permanent work would be sent on the assignment. Where a temporary assignment "just happens" to "go permanent," it may be called a "temp-to-perm" hire after the fact, but it is generally not considered to have been a permanent placement. (Other terms used to describe this process are temp-to-direct, temp-to-hire, try before hire, try before buy.)

Vendoring -- The provision of business services by an outside supplier (vendor), where the vendor brings its own employees on-site to perform a specific function, such as running a cafeteria or providing security services, or uses its own employees off-site to perform a specific function that was formerly done by the customer.

Vendor On Premises (VOP) -- On-site coordination of a customer's temporary help services through an exclusive, long-term general contractor relationship with a temporary help company. The designated Vendor On Premises may enter into subcontracting relationships with other temporary help suppliers, or the customer may specify such relationships.

Work Order -- Refers to a request from a customer for a specific type of service to be provided by one or more temporary employees for a specific period of time.

Contact our Director of Technical Staffing to learn more about how Continental's tech staffing services can help you control costs while expanding your technical resources. Call 800 875-4557 or fill out our Job/Candidate Request Form online.

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