4 Temporary Staffing Industry Definitions

Nov 06,2020
Staffing Industry Definitions

There’s a lot to process as you navigate through the temporary staffing universe, but to help sort through it all we’ve outlined some of the most common temporary staffing industry definitions for you.

Contingent Worker

Used to describe work arrangements that differ from regular/permanent, direct wage and salary employment. Contingent work and workers are primarily distinguished by having an explicitly defined or limited tenure.

Contingent workers include temporary employees provided by an outside staffing agency and independent contractors/consultants.

Contingent workers may include temporary workers from an internal pool, and others (such as summer interns, seasonal workers, freelancers, gig workers, etc.) employed directly by an organization for an intentionally limited time period.

From an employer point of view, contingent work also includes statement of work (SOW) consultants who work for the company on a short term basis.

While the consultants themselves may or may not have an expectation of ongoing employment with their consulting firm, their work for the client is considered contingent.

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

A company that takes on primary responsibility for managing an organization’s contingent workforce program.

Typical responsibilities of an MSP include overall program management, reporting and tracking, supplier selection and management, order distribution and often consolidated billing.

The vast majority of MSPs also provide their clients with a vendor management system (VMS) and may have a physical presence on the client’s site.

An MSP may or may not be independent of a staffing supplier.

Vendor Management System (VMS)

Often a web-based, cloud application that acts as a mechanism for business to manage and procure staffing services (temporary help and, in some cases, permanent placement services) as well as outside contract or contingent labor.

Typical features of a VMS include requisition and bid management, timekeeping, consolidated billing, comprehensive reporting and automation workflows designed to streamline processes with no risk of human error.

Vendor Neutral

A term used to describe a model in which a managed services or VMS technology handles its tasks (e.g. order distribution or candidate selection) based on client-defined policies that mandate that all (or a pre-defined set of ) staffing suppliers (vendors) be (a) given an equal opportunity to fill each order, and/or (b) selected for each order based on the same criteria.

Under a vendor-neutral model, a managed services or VMS provider could not, on its own accord, push orders to itself or any other staffing vendor above the rest.

The advantage of a vendor-neutral model is that the best supplier with the best candidate will fill each position.

The term is sometimes used in a stricter form to refer to an independent managed service provider that is completely autonomous, or semi-autonomous, from the staffing suppliers.

A common alternative model is a combined MSP/master supplier approach, which means the master supplier also acts as the MSP, and, with the full support and knowledge of the client, pushes a disproportionate share of orders to itself. Orders it cannot fill itself are sent to other staffing suppliers.


Need more information?

Interested in learning more about the temporary staffing industry and how Knowledge Services can help you manage your contingent workforce? Drop us a note, we’d love to hear from you.

By Knowledge Services | Nov 06,2020