April 01, 2014

How Happy are Temp Workers?

A few recent studies have been focusing on the satisfaction levels and happiness of temporary workers. Overall, it appears that temporary workers in the United States are happy!

A 2014 Survey by Staffing Industry Analysts of 7,000 temp workers looked at how satisfied temporary workers are with both their staffing agencies and their placements at client companies. The reports used Net Promoter Scores as their tool to measure happiness.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management metric designed to measure the loyalty that exists between a provider and a consumer. The provider can be a company or employer, while a consumer can be a customer or employee. The NPS is based on a direct question: How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues? Scoring is based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Responses are sifted into three groups:

  1. Promoters (score of 9-10): loyal enthusiasts
  2. Passives (score of 7-8): satisfied but unenthusiastic
  3. Detractors (score of 0-6): unhappy

Calculating the NPS requires taking the percentage of Promoters and subtracting the percentage of Detractors.

NPS for Temp Workers at Staffing Firms

The overall NPS was 42%, which is a number comparable to the NPS of companies such as Johnson & Johnson or BMW. Sixty-one percent (61%) of respondents were in Promoter category while nineteen percent (19%)were considered Detractors. And 49 percent of all respondents reported that they were “extremely likely” (with a score of 10) to recommend their staffing firm to a friend or colleague.

Calculation of NPS

The score of 42% serves as a clear indicator that temp workers engaged with a staffing firm are generally happy with their experience. NPS scores in 2012 and 2013 were steady at 45%, so this small drop in 2014 indicates there is room for improvement.

The Net Promoter Scores were also categorized by occupation, where the highest loyalty was seen in business and finance professions, and the lowest in healthcare practitioners/workers. With the increasing demand for healthcare workers in the industry, staffing agencies will need to find strategies to improve this score.

 NPS by Occupation

Source: Staffing Industry Analysts

When asked about various aspects of their staffing agencies, most workers “agreed” with the following statements, all of which are indicative of the quality of the relationship:

  • People at this agency are responsive and polite
  • My relationship with my recruiter is productive
  • This agency is trustworthy and honest

The most “disagreed with statements are all related to factors of employment benefits:

  • Agency provides quality training programs
  • Satisfied with benefits provided
  • I am satisfied with the rate of pay

Temp Worker’s Thoughts on Client Companies

Overall, temporary workers were happy with their placement at client companies, with approximately one-third of workers expressing praise or appreciation. The most common requests among these workers were for increased and improved communication and feedback, increased pay, and transitions to full-time positions.

Workers Expressing Unsolicited Praise or Appreciation

Source: Staffing Industry Analysts

Healthcare workers, as with their relationships with staffing agencies, were the least satisfied. Seven percent of healthcare workers complained about inefficient or insufficient orientation or training programs, and six percent complained about bad treatment or exclusion. Five percent complained about an unfair or excessively heavy workload.

What’s Keeping Temp Workers Happy?

An industry report by the International Freelancers Academy (IFA) found that 38 percent of survey respondents said they made more money as freelancers than as a permanent employee. Additionally, most (46 percent) said they have more free time than they did as in-house workers, and over half (57 percent) said they feel more secure as a freelancer than as a full-time employee. Over 70 percent said they are happier as temp workers, and 79 percent say they feel more productive. And finally, 55 percent said that they would not want to go back to traditional work.

A survey by Elance asked respondents to list the best aspects of working as a temporary worker or freelancer:

  • Controlling their own schedule
  • Having more choices of work projects
  • Following their passions
  • Being their own boss
  • Not commuting