A private labour market intermediary that provides agency labour to client organizations. Where an employment agency is used, therefore, a three-way employment relationship emerges involving the agency, the agency worker, and the client. Employment agencies have become more important labour market institutions across the developed world in recent years and the principal agencies, such as Manpower and Adecco SA, are major international employers in their own right. However, alongside these large, general suppliers of agency labour, there are many smaller companies that typically specialize in the supply of particular skills, such as acting, nursing, teaching, lorry-driving, or engineering. Recent developments in the activities of employment agencies have included ‘relational contracting’, in which the agency undertakes to provide all temporary labour for a large client company for a fixed period, and insourcing, where the agency manages agency labour at the client organization's work-site.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.