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

Susan N. Houseman
ILR Review
Vol. 55, No. 1 (Oct., 2001), pp. 149-170
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.2307/2696191
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2696191
Page Count: 22
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Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey
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Abstract

Drawing on a nationally representative survey of private sector establishments, the author presents new evidence on which employers use flexible staffing arrangements and why they use them. The surveyed employers made widespread use not only of regular part-time workers but also of short-term hires, on-call workers, agency temporaries, and contract workers. Two-thirds expected flexible staffing use to increase in their industry in the near future. Most commonly cited as reasons for using all types of flexible staffing arrangements were the needs to adjust for workload fluctuations and staff absences. Many employers also used agency temporaries and part-time workers to screen workers for regular positions. In addition, the survey evidence points to savings on benefits costs as an important factor in employers' decisions to use most flexible arrangements. The author examines the implications of why employers use the various types of flexible staffing arrangements for workers and public policy.

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