Employer of Record vs. Staffing Agency: What’s the Difference?

employer of record vs staffing agency

Today’s businesses are constantly seeking flexible solutions to meet their staffing needs. Two common options that often come up in this scenario are Employer of Record (EOR) services and staffing agencies. While both of these serve as valuable tools for employers, they cater to distinct needs and operate differently. 

In this guide, we will go deeper into the key differences between an Employer of Record and a staffing agency. This is to help businesses make informed decisions when it comes to managing their workforce.

What is an Employer of Record?

According to Valuates Reports, the global Employer of Record market was valued at US$ 4450.5 million in 2022 and is anticipated to reach US$ 6604.4 million by 2029. 

By definition, an Employer of Record, often abbreviated as EOR, is a specialized service provider that takes on the responsibilities and legal obligations associated with being an employer for a company’s workforce. 

Essentially, the EOR becomes the official employer of the workers, handling tasks such as payroll processing, tax withholding, benefits administration, and compliance with labor laws and regulations.

Attributes of an Employer of Record

    • Legal employer – An EOR is the legal employer of the workers it manages. This means that it assumes the responsibility for complying with labor laws, employment taxes, and other regulatory requirements on behalf of the client company.

    • Payroll and benefits – EORs handle all aspects of payroll processing, including tax deductions, benefit administration, and ensuring timely and accurate payments to employees.

    • HR compliance – They are responsible for adhering to all HR and employment-related compliance, such as labor laws, workplace safety regulations, and employment contracts.

    • Risk mitigation – They also help mitigate risks for the client company by ensuring compliance with changing labor laws and regulations.

What is a Staffing Agency?

A staffing agency, also known as an employment agency, is an organization that connects job seekers with potential employers. Staffing agencies maintain a pool of candidates and match them with job openings provided by client companies. They serve as intermediaries in the hiring process, sourcing, and screening candidates on behalf of their clients.

Attributes of a Staffing Agency

    • Matching candidates – Staffing agencies specialize in finding suitable candidates for specific job positions based on the requirements provided by the client company.

    • Temporary and permanent placement – Staffing agencies offer both temporary and permanent staffing solutions. They can provide temporary workers for short-term projects or find full-time employees for permanent positions.

    • Client-centric – Staffing agencies primarily focus on the needs of their client companies, aiming to provide them with the best-fit candidates.

    • Flexibility – Staffing agencies offer flexibility to client companies by quickly sourcing candidates when they are needed, helping to address immediate staffing needs.

Differences Between EOR and Staffing Agency

Now that we have a clear understanding of what each entity is, let’s explore the differences between Employer of Record and staffing agency services.

Employment Relationship

When it comes to this aspect, the big difference is in how they handle the boss-employee relationship. An EOR becomes the real boss, forming a direct connection with workers and taking care of all boss stuff. On the other hand, a staffing agency acts like a matchmaker, bringing job-seekers and companies together but not becoming the legal boss of the workers. This basic difference affects what kind of help they can give, and they serve different needs in the job world.

Scope of Services

An EOR offers a comprehensive package of HR services, which covers everything from handling payroll and managing benefits to ensuring compliance with labor laws and minimizing risks for the client company. In contrast, a staffing agency specializes in finding the right candidates for job positions, whether they are needed temporarily or for long-term employment, making them a go-to resource for matching talent with job openings.

Long-Term vs Short-Term

An EOR is the preferred option for businesses seeking a stable, long-term solution to effectively oversee their workforce while ensuring they meet all legal obligations. Conversely, a staffing agency is the ideal choice for businesses with short-term staffing needs or those in search of specific candidates without the commitment of long-term employment responsibilities. This distinction allows companies to align their staffing strategies with their time-sensitive requirements and overall business objectives.

Client Relationship

An EOR forms a direct, all-inclusive partnership with the client company and its employees, functioning as a comprehensive HR collaborator. Meanwhile, a staffing agency predominantly prioritizes the client company’s interests by identifying and presenting well-matched candidates for their job openings. When it comes to compliance and risk management, this responsibility squarely rests with the EOR, which diligently ensures adherence to labor laws and minimizes risks for the client company.

Compliance and Risk Management

An EOR takes on the vital role of shouldering compliance responsibilities, ensuring that labor laws and regulations are met, and actively working to reduce risks for the client company. In contrast, a staffing agency leaves these crucial aspects in the hands of the client company, placing the onus of compliance and risk management squarely on their shoulders. This fundamental difference underscores the importance of making an informed choice between these two staffing solutions, as it directly impacts the level of legal and risk-related support a business can expect to receive.

When to Choose an EOR vs Staffing Agency

Choosing Employer of Record vs. staffing agency depends on your specific business needs:

Choose an EOR if:

    • You require comprehensive HR and employment services.

    • You want to outsource all employer-related responsibilities, including recruitment, compliance and payroll.

    • You need a long-term solution for managing your workforce.

Choose a staffing agency if:

    • You have short-term staffing needs, such as seasonal or project-based work.

    • You want assistance with candidate sourcing, screening, and matching.

    • You prefer maintaining direct control over the employment relationship.


When it comes to hiring talents, the choice between an Employer of Record and a staffing agency boils down to the specific needs and objectives of your organization. EOR services are best suited for companies seeking a comprehensive solution for workforce management, compliance, and risk mitigation. 

On the other hand, staffing agencies are a valuable resource for businesses looking to quickly find the right candidates for temporary or specific job placements. Understanding the distinctions between these two options empowers companies to make informed decisions and tailor their staffing strategies to their unique requirements

Author Bio

Oliver Lewis

Founder & CEO

Oliver is an entrepreneur and global recruiter with over 15 years experience – owning, training, managing and growing a recruitment businesses in Europe and South East Asia. He successfully built RPO teams for the UK, Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the USA. He’s managed to grow a start up from 2 employees to 600+ employees.

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