Flexible Staffing Arrangements and Employers' Short-term Adjustment Strategies

Katharine G. Abraham, Employment, Unemployment and Labour Utilization, ed. by R.A. Hart, Unwin Hyman Press, 288-311, January .


This paper reports new evidence from a survey of over 408 U.S. employers concerning their use of temporary and on-call workers. More than 90 percent of responding organizations reported reliance on these flexible staffing arrangements. They accounted for an average of 1.5 percent of total labor input at user organizations during 1985; at some organizations, they accounted for 10 percent or even 20 percent of total labor input. Four-fifths of survey respondents indicated that flexible staffing arrangements play an important role in absorbing workload fluctuations. Moreover, organizations with highly seasonal or highly cyclical demand made significantly greater use of flexible staffing arrangements during 1985 than organizations with less seasonal or less cyclical demand. The use of flexible staffing arrangements appears to be a more important component of employers` short-term adjustment strategies than has previously been recognized.

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