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Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX/Sarbox)

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 or the American Competitiveness and Corporate Accountability Act of 2002. Sarbanes-Oxley requires that publicly traded companies tighten financial controls and audits; CEOs and CFOs must sign off on the accuracy and truth of financial reports. In particular, SOX Section 404 deals with certifying the sufficiency of controls for detecting fraudulent, questionable, or unauthorized activity that could impact company financial statements. In many cases, Section 404 requires companies to take responsibility for the internal controls of service providers in addition to their own. An SOC 1 (SSAE 16) Type II Audit is one way to accomplish this.

Search Research

Any of a variety of unbundled sourcing research services provided to corporate recruiters or third-party executive search firms, usually by sole practitioners, involving identification of potential candidates at competitive firms, pre-screening, reference-checking, and other search-related research.

Search/Search Assignment

The process of recruiting a candidate for a specific position with an employer, usually a senior managerial position. A search may be contracted on a retained or contingency basis. (See also: Contingency Recruiting, Retained Search.)


Temporary loan, attachment or detachment of an employee to another company (external) or department (internal), for a specified task and predetermined length of time. While assigned elsewhere, the secondee stays on the payroll of his employer and the employer will charge the receiving company or department a fee. In some countries, temporary agencies may (e.g. the Netherlands) or be legally obliged to (e.g. Germany, Denmark) assign temporary workers as secondees, meaning that the temporary worker will be entitled to receive payment even if no assignment is available.

Self Employed

An individual who operates a business or profession as a sole proprietor, independent contractor or consultant. See Independent Contractor.


Similar to Reverse Billing, an arrangement between a supplier and a customer in which the customer prepares the supplier’s invoice and forwards a copy to the supplier with the payment.

Self-Managed Program

Overall contingent worker program managed internally by the client employees as opposed to an outside vendor.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A document describing the (minimum) levels of service quality a supplier should comply with. Common examples applicable for the staffing industry are: time-to-fill a job-request, maximum invoice corrections in a given period, and time-to-solve a complaint. An SLA, if applicable, usually is part of a general services agreement or contract.

Services Procurement (Workforce Services Procurement)

Services procurement (Workforce Services Procurement) is the advanced application of procurement methodologies and disciplines to the acquisition of enterprise services; such as travel, catering and other forms of service based spend. In terms of contingent labor, it is most often used in reference to the provision of more complicated services categories, which are usually executed under a discrete contract per engagement such as Statement of Work (SOW), Management/Project Consulting and Outsourced Services (e.g., Call Centers, IT Support etc.)  

Services Procurement (Workforce Services Procurement)

The advanced application of procurement methodologies and disciplines to the acquisition of enterprise services; such as travel, catering and other forms of service based spend. In terms of contingent labor, it is most often used in reference to the provision of more complicated services categories, which are usually executed under a discrete contract per engagement such as Statement of Work (SOW), Management/Project Consulting and Outsourced Services (e.g., Call Centers, IT Support etc.).

Shared Services Center (SSC)

Internal bundling and streamlining of similar services previously spread over many departments, usually in a large organization. Services referred to are normally non-production related, such as ICT, Indirect Purchasing, Sales, Logistics and HR (including Contingent Workers). The benefits and purpose of an SSC are efficiency, cost reduction (scale) and expertise. Internal acceptance can be a challenge to an SSC, if the complexity of the inevitable change-process is underestimated. SSC is an internal concept. Similar services bundled externally are referred to as Outsourced Services or a Joint Venture, in case more companies decide to launch an external center for similar services.

Sharing Economy

Short-term Assignment

Refers to a work assignment of limited duration. The duration implied here is open to some debate. Most would agree that “short-term” means employment of a year or less. (See also: Long-term Assignment.)

Silver Medalists

From an HR perspective, Silver Medalists are qualified candidates who have applied for and reached the shortlist but did not get a position. As these candidates represent a significant investment of your recruiters and hiring managers’ time, their details should be retained in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and can be great candidates for future job positions. Proactive employers implement policies to have an ongoing engagement with these potential new hires.

Single-source Leasing

The provision of employees and equipment by a single leasing source, as in the case of a driver leasing company that supplies trucks and drivers to its customers.

Single-source Supplier

The provision of all staffing services employees through a single supplier source. Also referred to as “Sole Supplier.”

SL (Select License)

One of two types of license required in order to operate as an employment agency in Singapore The SL is valid for three year periods and allows employment agencies to place workers earning a monthly salary of more than SGD 7,000 per month. Holders of an SL are not allowed to place workers who earn less than SGD 7,000 a month. (See also: Comprehensive License.)

SNA Hallmark

The Stichting Normering Arbeid (SNA) is an important hallmark for staffing companies established by the Labour Standards Foundation in the Netherlands, safeguarding a buyer if a staffing supplier does not pay mandatory taxes and duties. The SNA hallmark makes hiring temporary labor and subcontracting a lot easier and safer for the client, simply because they enjoy better protection against fraud. The SNA hallmark is partly based on the NEN-4400 quality mark.(See: NEN-4400)

Social Recruiting

Social recruiting is a concept at the intersection of recruitment and the embryonic field of social media. The most common definition used for social recruiting is that it is the process of sourcing or recruiting candidates through the use of social platforms as promotional and/or advertising channels by employers and recruiters. Social recruiting falls into two different categories. The first is internet sourcing using social media profiles, blogs, and online communities to find and search for passive candidate data and information. The second is social distribution. This involves using social media platforms and networks as a means to distribute jobs either through HR vendors or through crowdsourcing where job seekers and other influencers share job openings within their online social networks.

Sole Employer

The traditional two-party, employer-employee work relationship in which a worker has a single employer, as compared to a co-employment relationship or joint employer status.

Sole Supplier

A sourcing method in which only one supplier is selected to provide all services for a customer, maybe within a service line, geography or for an entire program. (See also: Sourcing Model, Master Supplier.)

Solutions Business

Most often used when describing the provision of IT services as a total “solution” or package customized to an organization’s specific needs. Solutions work is typically sold on a fixed-fee basis rather than a time basis. Used to distinguish from “staffing,” which is the simple provision of a person or persons to fulfill a specific work assignment. (See also: Outsourcing.)

Sourcing (aka Candidate Sourcing)

A typically early stage of a talent acquisition process which is dominated by candidate search and identification of potentially attractive candidates, but which typically excludes actual engagement of candidates (recruiting) except to obtain clarifying information. Candidate sourcing activity typically ends once the name, job title, job function and contact information for the potential candidate is determined by the candidate sourcer. To further develop a list of names that were sourced some companies have a second person then reach out to the names on the list to initiate a dialogue with them with the intention of pre-screening the candidate against the job requirements and gauging the interest level in hearing about new job opportunities. This activity is called “candidate profiling” or “candidate prescreening.” The actual act of sourcing for candidates is performed by either a recruiter (be it an internal corporate recruiter or agency recruiter) or a dedicated recruiter just focused on the sourcing function (called a sourcer). A third-party recruitment agency or corporate recruiting department may be made up of individuals dedicated to just the sourcing of candidates while recruiters can either focus on more account  management responsibilities or leverage sourcing experts to supplement an additional volume of potential candidates. An increasing number of agencies and corporate recruiting departments outsource this work to a Recruitment Process Outsourcing vendor. In some situations a person that “sources” candidates can and will perform both ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ sourcing techniques to identify candidates as well as the candidate profiling to further pre-screen candidates, but there is a growing professional specialization of the roles “telephone sourcing”, “internet sourcing/researching” and candidate profiling.

Sourcing Model

The method by which a company identifies, selects, receives, and pays for contingent workers and related services. Companies may employ more than one sourcing model within a contingent workforce program. Sourcing Models can be identified by a company’s position along three independent axes: competitiveness, rate elasticity, and vendor integration. Competitiveness is the degree to which staffing agencies are invited to bid against each other with respect to submission time, candidate quality, and price. Typical options include sole-source, primaries, structured tiers, and open bidding. Rate elasticity is the degree to which CW demand affects rates, with options including fixed rate cards, pay range plus markup, max bill rates, and open bill rates. Vendor integration is the degree to which a company uses external resources, with options including complete program outsourcing, on-site administrative support, off-site transaction support, and no use at all.

SOW Consultant

SOW Consulting Services

The statement of work itself is a document that captures the work products and services, including, but not limited to: the work activities and deliverables to be supplied under a contract or as part of a project timeline. In contrast to a typical temporary or contingent work arrangement which is billed based on time worked, SOW agreements are sometimes billed based on a fixed price deliverable or for hitting specific milestones. Like typical contingent arrangements, they may also be billed based on time, including arrangements where there is a time-based billing that is capped at some “not to exceed” level for time and materials.


Special Employer

A US legal term referring to the client employer’s legal relationship to the employee in a joint-employer relationship, which usually includes responsibility for day-to-day supervision at the worksite. (See also: General Employer.)

Specialist Staffing/Specialty Staffing

A term used as an alternative to “Professional Staffing,” i.e., a segment of temporary staffing that includes workers in IT/technical, engineering, accounting and finance, legal, sales and marketing, and managerial functions, among others. (See also: Professional Staffing.)

Spend Under Management

The amount of currency that was actually invoiced by suppliers (typically in an MSP/VMS relationship) for work performed during a given time frame. This excludes spending that has been identified, but not yet rolled into the program. Suppliers and program managers sometimes describe this spending by breaking it out by job family (professional and commercial) and by worker classification (contract labor, SOW, outsource service contract). While not ideal, spend under management is the most common indicator of supplier and market sizing.


Splits are formal or informal agreements between staffing firms to “split” a temporary or direct hire placement (and a fee) if one firm has the job order and another has an acceptable candidate. The Web has facilitated this in various ways, with both exchanges and job networks. Within individual staffing firms a split fee may refer to the internal assignment of commission where one office or consultant has the job order and another office or consultant provides the candidate.

Staff Augmentation

Staffing services that supplement internal staffing teams where either part of the talent acquisition process is managed by an external supplier or a segment of the organization is supported by the external supplier, however the supplier is often using the company’s internal recruiting processes rather than its own processes to manage the staffing activities. IT staff augmentation services entail allocation of dedicated technical resources, usually offshore, hired as overseas development extensions of in-house application development teams on fixed or flexible terms and conditions. Using IT staff augmentation services provide a one-window solution to companies who might require application development across diverse technology verticals.

Staff Leasing

A term used in Italy to describe the supply of temporary labor through an agency. In the US, “leased” employees are those employees who are engaged using a Professional Employer Organization. Employment responsibilities are typically shared between the leasing company and the client company. The client company retains essential management control over the work performed by the employees.

Staff Outsourcing

In addition to staffing, many staffing firms in Latin American markets offer an outsourcing arrangement Staffing Industry Analysts defines as “Staff Outsourcing.” In this arrangement, the firm provides workers to complete a project for a client, for example, and the workers remain on the supplier’s payroll. The firm, however, is not typically managing the project on behalf of the client as in other forms of outsourcing. Because staff outsourcing is not legally considered a temporary arrangement, it is less regulated and has thus become a popular business model among staffing companies.

Staffing (or Staffing Industry)

An industry segment of the Workforce Solutions Ecosystem. Major sectors of the Staffing Industry include Temporary Staffing and Place & Search, with the commonality of sourcing workers for a client. Place & Search comprises three activities: Direct Hire (or Permanent Placement), Retained Search and Temporary-to-Permanent Conversions.

Staffing Association

An organization that represents and promotes the interests of the staffing industry and provides political lobbying and other services to its members. Members normally comprise staffing companies but may also include other ancillary service providers depending on the constitution of the association. Also referred to as Staffing Federation. Examples of staffing associations are the ASA (American Staffing Association), the REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) in the United Kingdom, and Prism’emploi in France. Many countries have more than one staffing association and some associations represent niche interest groups such as APSCO (Association of Professional Staffing Companies) in the United Kingdom. At a global level, the World Employment Confederation (WEC) is the international organization that represents more than 40 national staffing associations. Aligned to WEC is WEC-Europe, which seeks to protect the interests of the staffing industry at a European level and negotiates with social partners on e-related matters.

Staffing Company / Staffing Agency / Staffing Firm

A company providing staffing services.


A concept that seeks to distinguish the HR outsourcing function from the staff leasing co-employment relationship. “Staffsourcing” refers to the provision of various payrolling and personnel administration services without the assumption of a general employer role.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)

The 2000 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system is used by US federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of more than 820 occupations according to their occupational definition. The United Nations administers the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC) and national classifications tend to relate to this global initiative. In the European Union, since 1990, members states have been obliged to conform to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC92).

Statement of Work (SOW)

A document that captures the work products and services, including, but not limited to: the work activities and deliverables to be supplied under a contract or as part of a project timeline. In contrast to a typical temp or contingent work arrangement which is billed based on time worked, SOW agreements are usually billed based on a fixed price deliverable or for hitting specific milestones. Like typical contingent arrangements, they may also be billed based on time, including arrangements where there is a time-based billing that is capped at some “not to exceed” level for time and materials. (See also: Statement of Work (SOW) Consultant.)

Statement of Work (SOW) Consultant

An individual performing services in accordance with a document (the Statement of Work) that captures the work products and services to be delivered under a contract for services between a client and either the consultant (or usually their business entity) or a provider of consultancy services. (See also: Statement of Work.)

Statement on Auditing Standard (SAS) 70

A method established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for telling an auditor how to assess and issue an official auditor’s report about a service provider’s internal controls. Standard 70 focuses on services that could impact a service user’s financial reporting, including payroll services, benefits claims processing, outsourced IT operations or data centers, and vendor management services or software. An SAS Type I audit presents a snapshot of the service provider’s controls at a moment in time, whereas a Type II audit presents those same controls in operation over a period of at least six months and is recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an acceptable way of obtaining an auditor’s opinion for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404. (See Also: SAS 70 Type II Audit). SAS 70 reports are issued on every continent and country leading to various audit and accounting standards being used. To address the inevitable overlap that arises from multiple similar standards, an initiative was started in 2007 by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). The goal of the IAASB initiative is to issue two new international standards for reports on controls at service organizations. One of the two standards will be for user organizations and their auditors (ISA 402), while the second standard will be for service organizations and service auditors (ISEA 3402). Both ISA 402 and ISAE 3402 are assurance reports which aim to provide insight into the controls at a thirdparty service organization.

Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 16

A standard created by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) that assesses a service provider’s internal controls and that has replaced the longstanding SAS 70 attestation. SSAE 16 was drafted and issued with the purpose of updating the US service organization reporting standard so that it mirrors and complies with the new international service organization reporting standard – ISAE 3402. SSAE 16 reporting can help service organizations comply with Sarbanes Oxley requirements to show effective internal controls covering financial reporting. It can also be applied to data centers, or any other service that might be used in the delivery of financial reporting such as Managed Service Provision.

Statutory-Plus Pricing

A pricing model whereby a payroll provider charges its clients the actual statutory costs legally required by any government body for acting as a worker’s employer plus the payroll provider overhead costs and profit for its services.

Strategic Staffing

The pre-planned use of alternative or flexible staffing strategies by the customer. May include the use of temp-to-perm hiring, planned temporary staffing for work cycle peaks or projects, or payrolling, for example.

Strategic Workforce Planning

The process an organization undertakes to develop a holistic, long-term and proactive approach to strategically assessing and accessing all multiple forms of talent engagement. Specifically, Strategic Workforce Planning links corporate and strategic objectives and their associated workforce implications with multiple avenues of talent engagement and resourcing (Direct Hire, Contingent, SOW, Outsource, etc.).

Structured Tiers

Selection of multiple suppliers in a specific priority, usually based on pricing level, combined with size and capacity. (See also: Sourcing Model.)

Supplemental Staffing

The provision of temporary workers to a client company to supplement the current workforce for peak loads, special projects, or planned and unplanned worker absences. Also describes the regular practice of using contract healthcare staff in hospitals and other medical institution settings.


Staffing firms are referred to as suppliers by some contingent workforce buyers (whether hiring organizations or VMS/MSP entities).

Supplier Management

Supplier-Funded Model

MSP and/or VMS programs are funded through a small, negotiated margin percentage or fixed fee added to the billing of each assignment.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the management of the flow of goods and services. It includes the movement and storage of raw materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption. Interconnected or interlinked networks, channels and node businesses are involved in the provision of products and services required by end customers in a supply chain. In a contingent progam supply chain management refers to the process of optimizing a company’s contingent talent pipeline from candidate sourcing to onboarding and beyond.

Supply Teacher

A person who teaches at a school on a temporary basis when the regular teacher is unavailable because of illness or personal leave. The provision of Supply Teachers in the UK by staffing firms is a thriving business, although this sector is less prevalent (to non-existent) in other staffing markets. In the US, Supply Teachers are more commonly referred to as Substitute Teachers and, elsewhere in the world as Relief Teachers.

Swedish Derogation

An opt-out clause successfully negotiated by the Swedish delegation when the Agency Workers Directive was debated among social partners in the European Union. This derogation means that the AWD rights to equal pay of a temporary agency worker do not exist when the temporary agency worker is directly employed on a permanent basis by the temporary work agency and receives pay in-between assignments. While the derogation was credited to the Swedes, it is also a crucial factor for the German and (to a lesser extent) Dutch staffing markets, where it is normal for temporary workers to be employed full time by their temporary work agency.


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