What are the four types of staffing?

In today’s dynamic business environment, staffing plays a vital role in the success of any organization. From small startups to large corporations, having the right people in the right positions is crucial. But what exactly does staffing entail? There are four primary types of staffing that organizations use to ensure their workforce is effective and efficient. These four types include internal staffing, external staffing, temporary staffing, and contingent staffing.

Each type has its own unique advantages and challenges, making it essential for companies to understand and utilize the right staffing strategy for their specific needs. In this article, we will delve deeper into each type of staffing, exploring their characteristics, benefits, and how they contribute to the overall success of an organization. So, whether you’re a business owner looking to optimize your workforce or an individual seeking employment opportunities, keep reading to discover the four types of staffing and how they can impact your career or business.

💡 Helpful Statistics About Staffing:

 During the course of a year, America’s staffing companies hire over 14.5 million temporary and contract employees.
       - Most staffing employees (73%) work full time, comparable to the overall workforce (75%).

 More than half (52%) of hiring managers say one of their main challenges in the recruiting process is gaining access to candidates with 
   the right skills. (Career Builder) 

 In the U.S., there are around 25,000 Recruiting and Staffing Agencies. (American Staffing Association) 

 Temporary employees make up about 2.1% of the U.S. workforce, which equals roughly 3.1 million people. 

 3.6 million Temporary Employees are Hired Every Year

 64% of Staffing Agencies Believe Remote-Jobs will be More Common Post-COVID-19

 There are About 25,000 Recruiting and Staffing Agencies in the U.S.

 Approximately 89% of US companies use staffing agencies to find executive-level talent.

Temporary Staffing

Temporary staffing refers to the practice of hiring employees for a specific period of time or to complete a specific project. This type of staffing is commonly used when organizations have short-term staffing needs, such as covering for employees on leave, addressing seasonal workloads, or completing projects with defined timelines. Temporary staffing provides flexibility to organizations, allowing them to quickly scale their workforce up or down based on demand. It also provides individuals with opportunities for short-term employment, allowing them to gain experience, explore different industries, or bridge employment gaps.

One of the key advantages of temporary staffing is the ability to access specialized skills and expertise on-demand. Organizations can bring in temporary staff with specific skill sets to address immediate needs without the long-term commitment of hiring full-time employees. Additionally, temporary staffing can be a cost-effective solution for organizations, as they don’t have to provide benefits or invest in extensive training for temporary staff. However, it’s important to note that temporary staffing can also present challenges, such as the need to constantly onboard and train new employees, ensuring effective communication within the team, and managing the potential turnover of temporary staff.

Permanent Staffing

Permanent staffing, as the name suggests, involves hiring employees on a long-term or permanent basis. This type of staffing is typically used for positions that require ongoing commitment and stability within an organization. Permanent staff become integral members of the organization, contributing to its culture, growth, and long-term success. The process of permanent staffing involves screening, interviewing, and selecting candidates who possess the necessary skills, qualifications, and cultural fit for the organization. It often includes negotiating employment terms, providing benefits, and ensuring a smooth onboarding process.

One of the primary advantages of permanent staffing is the ability to build a stable and dedicated workforce. Permanent employees have a vested interest in the success of the organization and are more likely to develop a deep understanding of its operations, products, and customers. They also contribute to the organization’s stability and continuity, as they are familiar with its processes and can provide valuable institutional knowledge. However, permanent staffing also comes with challenges, such as the time and resources required for recruitment and onboarding, the potential for higher costs due to benefits and salaries, and the need for effective performance management and employee engagement strategies.

Contract Staffing

Contract staffing involves hiring individuals or companies to work on a specific contract or project basis. This type of staffing is commonly used when organizations have short-term or specialized needs that require external expertise. Contract staff can be brought in to complete specific projects, provide technical support, or fill skill gaps that are not available internally. Contract staffing provides flexibility to organizations, allowing them to access specialized skills and resources without the long-term commitment of permanent employment. It also provides individuals with opportunities to work on diverse projects, expand their professional network, and gain valuable experience.

One of the key advantages of contract staffing is the ability to tap into a wider talent pool and access specialized skills that may not be available internally. Organizations can bring in contract staff who have expertise in niche areas or specific technologies, enabling them to complete projects efficiently and effectively. Contract staffing also provides cost savings for organizations, as they only pay for the specific services or deliverables outlined in the contract. However, contract staffing can present challenges, such as ensuring effective communication and collaboration between contract staff and internal teams, managing multiple contracts and vendors, and maintaining knowledge transfer when contracts end.

Project-based Staffing

Project-based staffing is similar to contract staffing, as it involves hiring individuals or companies to work on specific projects. However, project-based staffing is characterized by a focus on the entire project, rather than just specific tasks or deliverables. Organizations use project-based staffing when they have complex or large-scale projects that require dedicated resources and project management. Project-based staff are responsible for the overall success of the project, from planning and execution to monitoring and evaluation. They work closely with internal teams, stakeholders, and clients to ensure project objectives are met within the defined scope, timeline, and budget.

One of the primary advantages of project-based staffing is the ability to leverage specialized expertise and resources to successfully complete complex projects. Project-based staff bring a wealth of experience and knowledge in managing similar projects, allowing organizations to minimize risks and maximize outcomes. Project-based staffing also provides organizations with the flexibility to scale their workforce based on project needs, ensuring efficient resource allocation. However, project-based staffing can present challenges, such as the need for effective project management and coordination, aligning project objectives with organizational goals, and managing potential conflicts between project teams and internal departments.

Key Considerations when Choosing a Staffing Type

When choosing a staffing type for your business, it’s important to consider several key factors. First and foremost, assess your organization’s current and future workforce needs. Identify whether you require short-term or long-term staffing solutions, specialized expertise, or flexibility to scale your workforce based on demand. Consider the nature of your business, industry trends, and the impact of staffing decisions on your overall operations. It’s also crucial to evaluate your budget and cost implications associated with each staffing type. Determine the resources you are willing to invest in recruitment, training, benefits, and compensation. Finally, consider the legal and compliance aspects of staffing, such as employment laws, regulations, and contractual obligations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Staffing Type

Each staffing type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Temporary staffing provides flexibility and access to specialized skills but may require constant onboarding and training. Permanent staffing ensures stability and continuity but may involve higher costs and longer recruitment processes. Contract staffing enables access to specialized expertise and cost savings but may present challenges in communication and knowledge transfer. Project-based staffing allows for efficient project management and resource allocation but may require effective coordination and alignment with organizational goals. It’s essential to weigh these pros and cons against your specific business needs and objectives.

Examples and Use Cases of Each Staffing Type

To better understand the practical applications of each staffing type, let’s explore some examples and use cases. For instance, a retail company experiencing a surge in seasonal sales may utilize temporary staffing to quickly hire additional sales associates during peak periods. A technology startup developing a new software product may opt for contract staffing to bring in experienced developers for a specific project. A manufacturing company expanding its operations to a new location may choose permanent staffing to build a dedicated workforce for the long term. A marketing agency working on a large-scale advertising campaign may employ project-based staffing to ensure effective project management and resource allocation.

How to Determine the Right Staffing Type for Your Business

Determining the right staffing type for your business requires careful analysis and consideration. Start by assessing your organization’s needs, goals, and budget. Analyze the nature of your industry, market trends, and the skills required to achieve your objectives. Consider the level of flexibility, stability, and expertise you require. Evaluate the cost implications, including recruitment, training, benefits, and compensation. Seek input from key stakeholders, such as HR professionals, department heads, and employees. Conduct thorough research on each staffing type, including case studies, best practices, and industry benchmarks. Finally, make an informed decision based on a holistic understanding of your business and its unique requirements.


Staffing is a critical element of organizational success, and understanding the different types of staffing is essential for effective workforce management. As we have explored, temporary staffing, permanent staffing, contract staffing, and project-based staffing each offer distinct advantages and challenges. By carefully considering your organization’s needs, goals, and budget, you can determine the right staffing type to optimize your workforce and achieve your business objectives. Whether you are a business owner seeking to build a dedicated team or an individual exploring employment opportunities, leveraging the right staffing strategy can make a significant impact on your career or business. So, take the time to evaluate your options, weigh the pros and cons, and make informed decisions to drive success in today’s competitive business landscape.