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Many times I have been involved with Agency V Company contract discussions. The debate will go on for ever.. but a few words of discussion here might be worth a shot.

When offshore I have often been approached by company types looking to jump ship, asking what it's like as an agency bod out in the cold, away from the safe cosseted confines of the likes of Sonsub, SS7, Fugro etc.

There are those that feel that they, as company employees, are somewhat superior to mere agency personnel. I personally know many agency types that would equally have a few things to say about that.

There are agency people that wouldn't sign a company contract if you paid them.. which in the case of company contracts is often at the bottom end of the accepted prevailing pay range. Two perfect examples of that are Oceaneering and SS7.

Is there security as a company employee on contract?
I personally think not, as I have seen companies somehow manage to shed faithful employees in almost as little time as it takes them to call an agency and reduce their requirements for personnel.

So what are the pros and cons of being?


a) Company Employee?
b) Agency?
James Mc
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www.rovworld.com

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You will always get a better rate than salaried personnel???? depends on the grading system of the said company.

maybe most of the time but not always. Have a look on this sites pay rates.
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bt wrote:
Have a look on this sites pay rates.


Which are lagging well behind the times due to lack of feedback from site members. The grades quoted are only as good as the information received by us here at ROVworld.

Agency peeps should always get a better day rate than salary people because, as a minimum, they have more underlying personal costs to bear. Those agency people that find themselves on a job and on a rate similar to that of the salary personnel are being taken for a ride by their chosen agency. Plus, they need to consider that they alone, and nobody else, accepted the rate on offer to them by the agency, so no bitching allowed when offshore and you find out you undersold yourself.
James Mc
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Sometimes, at the outset, the company employee route can appear to be comfortable and secure, regular pay, medical, dental etc. but a similar comfort zone can easily be achieved through agency, and yet you have greater flexibility in controlling your own destiny.

If you are any good you will work through the same agency and for the same ROV company for a good while. In that situation, as an agency person, you have one distinct employment advantage over the company employees that you may have worked alongside with over the last few years.

If the ROV company goes bust or scales down on agency and employees alike, you are already a known quantity with your agency of choice and likely to find work quickly thereafter. On the other hand the employees that have just lost their 'lifetime' jobs are out in the cold, with no real network/contacts to fall back on.

I have to admit that, as agency, during the bulk of my offshore time I have rarely jumped around from company to company and tended to stay for a good few years with the same agency and same ROV operating company (albeit through an agency).

I was company direct (day rate) for many years.
The agencies were: Rumic and UKPS
The companies were: Global Industries, CTC , Sonsub (Abz) and TSM Abz).

If something shifted, and I didn't like what I was hearing or seeing, within either the Agency or the ROV operating company I would move on. Never a hard decision to make, even when bringing up kids with a mortgage. The Mortgage was never in arrears and both my boys went to boarding school... all paid for as a mere Agency bod!
James Mc
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www.rovworld.com

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One thing I would add is please do NOT try and go Agency until you DO have experience behind you. The whole idea of companies going to an Agency is supposedly that the people they hire are actually capable of doing the job (yes I know, we've all heard the nightmare stories of warm bodies)

You do NOT get Agency Trainees! Have at least a few years experience before considering the Agency line. You can be a lazy thick grunt as an employee and usually get away with it - but as an Agency worker you really do only get work by your reputation. Get a bad one and the work will dry up (apart from the warm body scenario)
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Not to veer too far of topic...

But you do get agency trainees Ray. All the big agencies have trainees on their books, and usually try and foist them onto the Companies on a regular basis.

I've even had a couple offshore.

All part of the grand plan to become the 'manpower suppliers' for the ROV companies and get rid of offshore staff people completely.

And before any naysayers get started, this was a line UKPS were pushing very hard with most of their client companies about 4 years back, just before it went nuts.

And, from what I remember, some of the companies were seroiusly considering it. We are, after all, a cost to the accountants. not an asset.

Thank god it got so busy. The companies that weren't quick enough to put up their rates suddenly discovered there were no good agency people left in the barrel.
I was in the pub.

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