Employment Agencies: Let’s stop feeding recruiters and get real jobs!

I remember being on assignment through an employment agency where I was responsible for posting incoming and outgoing payments into the accounting database. One day I saw a cheque to my agency and I was astonished at how much the cheque was made out for. It was exactly half of my pay. Every two weeks, I made about 800 pathetic dollars. Every two weeks, my agency made $400…. There was no one else there from the agency and the note on the cheques stated one thing- my name.

According to the Canadian Action Workers web site, 37% of Ontario workers are temp/ part-time/ contract workers. A whole industry of worker providers is living off of our work. Sure you can say that they’re providing a service to the worker as well, but let’s face the facts. Temp workers typically make poor money, if people stopped going to agencies to look for work, more companies would be forced to hire on their own. Would you make less money that way? Hard to make less than minimum wage!

I’ve been to many agencies, and one of their big selling points to employers is that they provide training to their worker drones. That they aggressively conduct background checks on workers. In the end, they supply employers with quality workers who will meet their needs.

My experience with agency training has included the following: Watching elementary blue-collar condescending WHIMIS, MSDS, and safety videos followed by an open book test. Reading pamphlets and writing open book tests.  A couple of agencies had even told me to tell the employer that I have more experience then I actually have- should they ask…

Though the most extensive background check did involve a credit check, that credit check resulted in the agency declining my candidacy for future work. My credit was fine, and they would not elaborate further. Thank you, Spherion…

That’s it. That’s my training and background checks. Yet employers actually save money by paying agencies gobs of money to hire people for them. Why is that? My only real logical conclusion is that agencies make most of their money off of low paying blue-collar jobs supplying workers to companies with a high turn over.

Let’s use the automotive sector as an example. Their production fluctuates greatly on a daily basis. They need more workers at times and less at other times. They can’t pay their employees to stand around when there is nothing to do, so they hire the bare minimum for what they need, and use temp workers to fill the gap. Any time, and day, there can be a flux of incoming and outgoing workers, barely making minimum wage, so that the company can save, or make, money.

Now I am aware of more established, higher end agencies that supply workers to companies that are using the agency as a test bed. They want a long-term worker but it’s more financially responsible to test that employee out before buying them out and hiring them. I don’t have a problem with that so much. It’s the worker mills and the companies that feed off them that I take issue with.

In the end, I hate employment agencies. They have wasted my time more often than not. They have undervalued my worth and experience. Most importantly, they have made a lot of money off of me, and YOU.

While the new regulations in Ontario seem to offer more rights to workers, they really don’t offer anything to you unless you quite literally become a slave to the agency. You can not refuse work and therefore, if you’re looking for something in your field, but you have to push 1000 lb racks onto trailers for $9.75 per hour, you have to do just that. You don’t have any real rights as an employee unless you are an actual employee.

We’re all just slaves, but try to be a slave to something you like, and it will make your life a lot more palatable. Employment agencies are the biggest slave peddlers around. Do yourself a favour and look for a job yourself. Research your industry of interest, check their web sites for job postings, call their HR and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get your resume out to those who may not be advertising for employees. You’ll be able to thank yourself in the end.


2 Responses to “Employment Agencies: Let’s stop feeding recruiters and get real jobs!”

  1. Andy Susin Says:

    You hit upon one of the dirtiest tricks industry uses to minimalize labour costs and to minimalize laborers’ rights. Companies can OFFER great benefits and retirerment packages but who cares when half of their workforce (temps) can not access those high priced perks. The company also absolves themself of any worker’s comp and canada pension obligations by paying the temp agency fee.

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