But there is some good news out there. Some unemployed Cobb workers are finding success through temporary jobs. According to the latest Satellite Industry Report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, metro Atlanta is the state’s No. 4 ranked area in office/clerical and finance/accounting staffing. It also ranks No. 5 in marketing/creative and legal staffing.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of temporary and temp-to-hire positions,” said Larkin Dailey, owner and manager of the Snelling Staffing Services office in Cobb County. “Many companies are extending offers, and some of the candidates we represent have ended up with multiple offers simultaneously, which is a great sign.”
Snelling is seeing numerous opportunities in entry-level positions such as administrative assistants, accounting clerks, customer service, telesales, as well as specialized positions like marketing, property management and human resources.
“Companies are hiring, but they are being very selective about the people they bring on,” Dailey said. “Some are choosing to keep people in a temporary capacity longer than in previous months. We’re seeing this in the Cobb market, as well as throughout other areas we staff in the metro area.”
Today, a company’s decision to employ temporary staff hinges on a number of factors, including an unstable economic landscape, the revised health care legislation and the upcoming election.
“Companies are starting to experience growth and prefer to utilize temporaries as they grow since the growth may not be a trend or the future remains uncertain,” Dailey said. “Take something like the health care reform. This is a huge concern for employers right now. Many are opting to bring on contract workers until they know more about the political landscape of the future.”
Mead Indoor EnviroTech in Marietta, which provides energy-efficient systems, has been using temporary employees for needs such as answering phones, data entry, accounting, dispatch and clerical duties.
“It is an opportunity for us to try someone out to see if they are a good fit for our company before hiring them on a permanent basis,” said Susan Wheeler, operations manager. “Our last temp-to-permanent position has been with us for almost two years. We currently have another temporary person who will be moving into a permanent position in the near future.”
Before a candidate is placed in a company, staffing services such as Snelling test the competency of the individual and conduct a background check and drug test.
The biggest selling point for companies looking to employ temporary workers is that they can hire qualified people as they are needed without having to go through the normal, time-consuming recruiting process.
“We do all the legwork,” Dailey said. “We screen hundreds of unqualified resumes to find the right ones. Temporary workers are technically employees of (the staffing services), which means a company does not need to take on the burden of workers comp, unemployment or even record retention.”
The biggest drawback is that when a company brings on a temp, that person often wants a full-time position.
“There could be some unexpected turnover as they get offers from other companies,” Dailey said. “The company hasn’t taken them off the market, so to speak. Candidates can work multiple contract jobs before they land the ideal opportunity.”
But the process does work.
“It was great opportunity to get exposure to the company and people, and see if the job was what I wanted,” said Debbie Klahr, whom Mead hired after employing her as a temp worker. “The position became a full-time position.”
Michael J. Pallerino has reported on business news for magazines and newspapers in the Atlanta area for more than 20 years.
COBB WORKFORCE AT A GLANCE
According to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the area’s largest industry employment distribution is:
* Professional, Scientific & Technical — 23 percent
* Retail — 13 percent
* Wholesale Trade — 11 percent
* Construction — 11 percent
* Health Care and Social Assistance — 10 percent
According to the Cobb County Office of Economic Development, the county’s occupational employment distribution is:
* Office/Administration — 731,000 in 2010; 801,000 projected by 2016
* Sales — 460,000 in 2010; 515,000 projected by 2016
* Health care — 194,000 in 2010; 246,000 projected by 2016
* Production — 350,000 in 2010; 358,000 projected by 2016