Skip to content ↓

MIT names partner companies for temporary clerical help

The MIT community now has more options for hiring temporary clerical staff while still utilizing the benefits of partnership agreements negotiated by Procurement. As of March 20, MIT has two partner companies, rather than one, as its preferred vendors for temporary clerical help.

Adecco and Total Clerical Services are the new vendors for a three-year contract period. These firms were chosen by a team with representatives from Procurement, Human Resources, and the Departments of Biology and Physics.

Adecco, one of the largest personnel placement firms in the world, recently acquired MIT's former partner, Olsten. However, the Institute's temporary clerical account is new to Adecco, and the company has a Cambridge office on Hayward Street dedicated to the MIT community. Total Clerical Services, a minority-owned business, is a full-service temporary and permanent placement agency on Winter Street in Boston.

"We really needed to change the model to give the community more choice," said Ramona Allen, personnel administrator in biology and team member. "And I'm not concerned that Adecco bought Olsten because Adecco has some long-term staff who will manage their end of this new partnership, so it will definitely not be yesterday's soup warmed over."

Heather Williams, personnel administrator in physics, was also on the team that selected the vendors. "I'm pleased that a smaller, minority-owned company was also chosen as a partner," she said. "Total Clerical is committed to customer service, and through their relationship as a secondary supplier with larger companies in partnerships, such as Olsten's with MIT, they've provided quality temporary workers to many large organizations, including the Institute. I think they'll be a real asset to MIT."

Both firms will subcontract with other agencies, giving MIT access to a very large pool of temporary workers. The MIT team defined the skill set needed for the following five positions: clerk, receptionist, data entry operator, administrative assistant and senior administrative assistant. The price range for each kind of position is the same at the two partner companies.

An important financial aspect to the partnerships is that both Adecco and Total Clerical Services have agreed to waive the "temporary to permanent" fee that other agencies charge if a temporary worker is hired into an MIT position. During the Institute's five-year agreement with Olsten, this kind of waiver saved MIT $987,000 for the 170 people who were hired after serving as temporary workers through Olsten. (Agencies outside the partnerships generally charge a fee of between 17 and 25 percent of the hiring salary.)


The business process to order temporary help is the same as before. Customers using the partnerships do not need to create or justify a purchase order; they can just call Adecco or Total Clerical to discuss the kind of worker they need and then provide the cost object(s) to be charged. Adecco has a computerized history of former Olsten temps who have worked at MIT, and Total Clerical Services will build such a database as it places workers here.

MIT spends about $3 million per year on temporary clerical and secretarial workers on campus. That figure does not include temps hired for technical areas such as accounting, information systems and laboratory work, or as medical secretaries.

For more information, see Procurement's web page or contact Joanne Jones at x3-8350 or Michael McNamara at x3-7247.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 29, 2000.

Related Topics

More MIT News