Monday, April 6, 2015

I'm a big believer in markets, but this just sucks

Right now,the markets are working against temps. The amount of work available is being decreased  on two fronts. First, firms are using predictive coding -- computer-determined decisions on responsiveness -- which has virtually eliminated first-review document work. We won't even talk about sending the temp jobs to India, the Philippines, Ohio and North Carolina. Leaving outsourcing out of it, the other primary downward pressure on labor demand is the client insistence on the 40-hour week -- more bodies, no overtime. Send those jobs to a cheaper wage location, so much the better. Cheaper for the client, but impossible for most temps to make a living. Of course, that is not why these jobs exist. They exist to get the job done for the client. Their interest in our ability to make a living is nonexistent. This is something liberals don't understand about employers. They do not exist to create jobs. They exist to make money. If they don't make money, they don't exist. The only true minimum wage is zero.

Want proof? I just got this email from an agency:
I am staffing a new project that is expected to start on Monday April 20th. The project is estimated to last for at least a couple months. It requires that you are actively barred anywhere in a US jurisdiction. It is $26/hr and there is some possibility for OT, but at this time it is 40 hours a week. If you are interested and available for this project, please email me your resume as soon as you can. Thank you!
First of all, why should someone be willing to wait two weeks for a project to start? Further, that is at least $4 per hour below market rate. Why can they do this? Too many temps chasing too few jobs. I like to think of myself as one of the better temps out there. Over the last 10 days or so, I have whiffed on at least three projects -- not chosen. I am pending on three more, but we'll see. Further, another guy I know who was on the same project I was also has not yet found work, and this is a dude I have always envied as someone who never has down time. The dude is always working, and usually on overtime projects. But not right now.  Times are hard.

Why? Market forces. Live by the sword, die by the sword, right?

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