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What is a Personnel Agency?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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Personnel agencies are employment services that supply clerical and administrative help to clients on an as needed basis. Sometimes considered to be the same as an employment agency, a personnel agency may function as the employer for people who are sent on short-term and long-term assignments, or function strictly as a job placement service. In many areas of the world, the two terms are used interchangeably.

The typical personnel agency is slightly different from an employment agency in a couple of important ways. First, an employment agency often takes on clients for all types of job placement activities. This includes factory workers, machinists, gardeners, and just about any other type of work for hire that may be needed in the community. By contrast, a personnel agency usually focuses on providing their clients with qualified individuals who can handle general office tasks, such as reception, data entry, or other secretarial and clerical responsibilities.

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An employment agency is also usually focused on permanently placing individuals with their clients. In exchange for this service, the employer or the newly placed employee pays the agency. The fee may be paid over time or in one lump sum. With a personnel agency, the workers are in the employ of the agency itself, and receive pay and benefits from the agency. In turn, a client pays the agency for the services rendered by the agency employee. While the option of possibly buying the worker’s contract does usually exist, many people see the personnel agency as a great way to get extra help when it is needed.

There are a number of reasons why people seeking jobs should consider working with a personnel agency. By signing up with a reputable agency, it is possible to allow someone else to do the job searching for you. As you go on assignments, you have the opportunity to make contacts in the local business community that could lead to something more permanent, if that is your goal. There is also the benefit of being able to get to know the corporate culture that exists with various employers. Should you find that the fit is not good, there is always the possibility of asking the agency for a different assignment.

Working with a personnel agency is also beneficial when individuals move about from time to time. For example, when a spouse is transferred to a new location because of his or her work, it is sometimes possible for the personnel agency employer to simply be reassigned to the agency office nearest his or her new home. In some cases, the agency may be able to have an assignment waiting for the employee by the time the move is complete.

At one time, the typical personnel agency offered little more than an hourly wage to its full and part-time employees. That has changed in recent years. Many personnel agencies now offer employees who average at least thirty-two hours each week to participate in health insurance plans and enjoy benefits that are very similar to other full-time workers.

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