Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market

The Swedish Model in the Post-Financial Crisis Era

Edited by Christina Garsten, Jessica Lindvert and Renita Thedvall

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, people who had never before had cause to worry about losing their jobs entered the ranks of the unemployed for the first time. In Sweden, the welfare state has been radically challenged and mass unemployment has become a reality in what used to be viewed as a model case for a full employment society. With an emphasis on Sweden in the context of transnational regulatory change, Makeshift Work in a Changing Labour Market discusses how the market mediates employment and moves on to explore the ways in which employees adjust to a new labour market. Focusing on the legibility, measurability and responsibility of jobseekers, the expert contributors of this book bring together an analysis of activation policy and new ways of organizing the mediation of work, with implications for the individual jobseeker.

Chapter 6: Temporary staffing: balancing cooperation and competition

Gunilla Olofsdotter

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


They all compete. Most recently it was we who initiated a negotiation of the agreements. The pricing and conditions. We had one round that resulted in everything going down in price, but AAA, who also pay their temporaries the most, had the lowest price plus that the quality of the group they delivered was really good. They’ve received almost all of the assignments. Before that, it was BBB that did the same thing to CCC, except their price was a bit higher but with much better quality. Then it was just BBB for a while. So it’s gone a bit in waves. All of the staffing firms are there and ready: Can’t we get some people in there; we should do this and this. It’s a buying spree, you notice it in that way. You get a little spoiled. These are the words of Martin, a manager at a call centre in Sweden that for a number of years hired in a lot of temporary agency workers. In the interview, Martin told me about the internal recruiting strategies of the company, and the competition for assignments that exists between different staffing agencies. He described how the company uses, at the same time, three staffing firms that must compete against each other for assignments. It is not just a matter of being able to offer the lowest price, however, but also of being able to deliver temporaries of sufficiently good quality.

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