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Businesses demanding techno-savvy workers

Employment services focusing on specialty employment

As the business world becomes more techno-dependent and the labor market tightens up, employment services are focusing on specialty employment. Last fall, TempStaff opened ExecuStaff, an employment service that specializes in the permanent placement of technical management, administrative and office support positions.

“There’s been a continually high demand for computer and technical support jobs,” said Carolyn Boteler, owner. “We had so many calls for that type of specialty that it made sense to open a new division.”

Boteler, a 21-year industry veteran, founded Jackson-based TempStaff in 1981. A woman-owned and -managed Mississippi corporation, it is one of the largest independently-owned services in the state. Soon after TempStaff opened as an employment service for clerical office support, TempStaff’s Permanent Placement Division was formed. An industrial division was added in 1990 and ExecuStaff was established in 1999.

“I’ve seen tremendous changes in technology,” Boteler said. “Companies used to call temporary employment services to hire a ‘fill-in’ a day here and there. Now, more technical people with word processing skills are needed on a daily basis.”

Five years ago, many applicants looking for work had never looked at a computer, she said.

“Now, everyone who comes through our doors has computer skills,” said Boteler, who is also a member of the Rankin County Board of Education. “Most people have computers at home and are familiar with e-mail and Web sites. Our educational system is preparing students for the workplace more.”

Because of the perception that the company only filled temporary positions, Boteler said it was important for the new division to have its own identity.

“A lot of people are familiar with TempStaff because we’ve been in business for over 20 years,” she said. “When we first opened, we had to spell out TempStaff for people. Now everybody knows about us. The perception is that we’re temporaries, so we wanted to come up with another name so people didn’t think of the division as a temporary agency.”

TempStaff professional Lynne Williamson came up with the name ExecuStaff and “it seemed a perfect fit,” Boteler said.

At ExecuStaff, Shannan Jackson, who handled permanent placement at TempStaff for three years, manages the temporary-to-permanent placement positions. Tracy Hodges takes care of professional placement on the technical management side of the company.

“Both have been extremely busy since we opened in September,” Boteler said. “We’ve placed technical positions from entry level in the mid-$20s to more experienced career moves in the mid-$60s. Many requests are for technical professionals in sales, management and administration.”

Because of the low unemployment rate, it’s difficult to find enough qualified workers to fill positions, she said.

“We do a very thorough search using basic methods of advertising, but we also get a lot of help from TempNet, an international association of independent staffing companies that we, as an independent business, elected to be a part of,” she said. “TempNet is a network of more than 150 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada that allows us to stay abreast of the latest information regarding the staffing industry. The Internet has certainly been a boost to getting the word out about key positions available and attracting qualified technical professionals to the Jackson market.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com, mbj@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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