pherion Staffing started with one woman’s idea that Charleston was a market with plenty of potential for growth and success. Pam Thompson’s vision has proven to be wise, as her small company has grown steadily since beginning in 1994.
Thompson embarked on her journey following a career in Norrell Staffing’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Mary Barrineau, Thompson’s daughter, joined the firm a few years later, and the pair has guided the company through changes and growth that include a merger with Interim Staffing and a subsequent name change to Spherion. The firm now has a staff of 11, a list of longtime clients and new customers allowing continuous growth in the Charleston market.
Charleston’s growth has fed Spherion’s to the point where the agency is currently placing 500 employees in the tri-county area every week. Barrineau says much of the increase has been in manufacturing and distribution.
“Our main area of growth over the past decade has been in manufacturing and distribution jobs,” Barrineau says. “We have seen a lot of quality growth, providing new career opportunities that did not exist even five years ago.”
That has led to challenges, according to Barrineau. Job-seekers have more options now and technology has made it easier to contact multiple prospective employers. The instant-gratification culture we now live in extends to the job market.
“We can have 100 people lined up for a certain type of job required by one of our clients, but the names on that list of 100 can change a lot in just a few days,” Barrineau says. “A person with a desirable skill set can see more than one offer in a short time, and if an employer needs more time to consider a hire, that person might not be available 72 hours later.”
In that environment, Barrineau says it is crucial for her company to stay in close contact with both potential employees and employers, gauging interest, supply and demand that are constantly changing.
“Things can change so fast,” she said. “We are on the phone, emailing, and even texting our candidates all the time, trying to keep up with who might still be available and what opportunities are still open. But we’ve been here nearly 25 years now; our clients know they can always count on us.”
“We are on the phone, emailing, and even texting our candidates all the time, trying to keep up with who might still be available and what opportunities are still open. But we’ve been here nearly 25 years now; our clients know they can always count on us.”
– Mary Barrineau, Co-Owner and President