New Poll Reveals U.S. Adults View Temporary Employment as Best Option Following Layoff

BATTLE CREEK and GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (  More than half of U.S. adults (54%) agree that finding a temporary job is the best option following a layoff, according to a new online survey commissioned by EmploymentGroup, a Midwest staffing and contracted services firm, and conducted by Harris Interactive®.  The poll coincides with the latest Labor Department payrolls data that show U.S. employment rose far less than expected in January, suggesting continued weakness in the job market.

The survey, which aimed to quantify the appeal of several frequently cited options available to unemployed workers, found that pursuing a temp job (defined as a transitional job held while looking for permanent employment) is preferred by a wide margin to going back to school to learn a new skill or profession (21%), waiting for the right opportunity while receiving unemployment assistance (11%), starting a new business (5%), or something else (8%).

The survey also examined the perceived value of temporary employment.  A majority of adults (70%) say that landing a temp job often leads to a permanent position, and 74% agree that it adds value to a resume – an opinion voiced most strongly by unemployed (78%) and retired (85%) workers.  The online survey of 2,026 adults, aged 18 and over, was conducted in January 2011.

“While it has been widely reported that temp hiring is up, some have suggested that in the current economy traditional perceptions of the temp job have changed – from a potential path to full-time employment to just another dead end,” said Mark Lancaster, CEO of EmploymentGroup.  “These latest survey results paint a different picture.  Despite significant, persistent challenges in the job market, public opinion regarding the value and long-term career potential of temporary employment remains strong.

“The data reflects what we are seeing in our own business,” added Lancaster.  “Permanent hiring of EmploymentGroup temporary staff increased nearly fourfold in 2010, as many of the employers we serve began moving from a highly cautious outlook to positioning themselves for renewed growth in 2011 and beyond.”

The survey provided some additional interesting findings regarding perceptions of temporary employment:

  • Women are more likely to agree that temp jobs often lead to a permanent position (74%), versus men (66%);
  • Temp jobs hold more appeal for older women:  63% of women ages 55 and older feel temporary employment is the best option following a layoff, versus 56% of all adult women and 51% of men ages 55 and older;
  • Across all household income categories, the temp job option holds the most appeal for those earning between $35,000 and $49,900
  • Part-time workers are much more likely to agree temp employment is the best option following a layoff than full-time or self-employed workers (63% vs. 53%);
  • Ranges in U.S. geographic region and household size didn’t seem nearly as relevant in predicting perceptions regarding temporary employment as gender, age and employment status

About the Survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Lambert, Edwards & Associates from January 11-13, 2011 among 2,026 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please visit or contact Julie Johnston with any questions at (616) 949-2347 or

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit

About EmploymentGroup

Founded in 1958, EmploymentGroup is a solutions-based business and managed services company, providing and delivering quality staffing solutions to allow its clients to focus on their core business functions.  With offices in Michigan and Illinois, EmploymentGroup specializes in recruiting, training and placing measurably better permanent and temporary field associates in contract, administrative, professional, technical and light industrial positions.  Through its EG Managed Services division, EmploymentGroup provides essential but non-strategic managed services, including mail and document management, archives, courier, shipping and receiving, custodial and grounds. To find out more about EmploymentGroup, please visit, or to learn about EG Managed Services, visit