Rise Of The Permatemp

Employers are using highly skilled temps full time to keep costs down. Now it may be time to pay up

You used to spot a temp a mile away. He would show up at the office for a day, asking too many questions, trying to remember the firm's name when answering the phone, unable to find the coffeepot or get the copier to work.

In the flexible workforce of the 1990s, though, temps tend to stick around longer and end up blending right in, doing everything from developing complex computer software to editing magazines. Since they often stay in one (sometimes high-level) position for the long haul, they've earned the name "permatemps." The deal is supposed to benefit both parties; the...

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