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

By hrlineup | 21.07.2023

In the modern business landscape, companies often find themselves needing to expand their workforce to meet growing demands or undertake new projects. When faced with this situation, businesses have two primary options for bringing on additional personnel: Employer of Record (EOR) services and Staffing agencies. While both methods offer solutions for acquiring talent, they differ significantly in their approach and the level of responsibility they assume. In this article, we will explore the key distinctions between Employer of Record and Staffing, shedding light on which option might be best suited for different business needs.

What’s the Difference Between Staffing and Employer of Record (EOR)

1. Definition and Core Function:

Employer of Record (EOR): An Employer of Record is a third-party entity that takes on the legal responsibility for employing workers on behalf of a client company. EORs manage all aspects of HR administration, payroll, benefits, tax compliance, and other employment-related functions for the workers. Essentially, the EOR becomes the official employer for legal and tax purposes, while the client company maintains day-to-day control over the employees’ work.

Staffing Agency: A Staffing agency, also known as a temp agency or employment agency, connects job seekers with employers looking to hire temporary, permanent, or contract workers. Staffing agencies act as intermediaries, sourcing candidates with specific skills and qualifications to match the client company’s requirements. The client company pays the staffing agency for the services rendered, and the agency, in turn, compensates the workers and handles payroll-related functions.

2. Legal and Tax Responsibilities:

Employer of Record (EOR): When a company partners with an EOR, the EOR takes on full legal and tax responsibilities as the official employer of the workers. This means that the EOR is liable for complying with all employment laws, handling payroll taxes, issuing payslips, and ensuring compliance with local regulations. The client company, however, retains control over the workers’ job duties, work schedules, and performance management.

Staffing Agency: In the case of a staffing agency, the client company is responsible for providing day-to-day supervision and direction to the workers. The agency, on the other hand, typically handles payroll processing, tax withholdings, and other administrative tasks related to employment. While the staffing agency assists in finding suitable candidates, the legal and tax responsibilities remain with the client company.

3. Flexibility and Duration of Engagement:

Employer of Record (EOR): EOR services are well-suited for long-term engagements and projects where companies need to access talent quickly without establishing a legal entity in the workers’ location. EORs provide a practical solution for international expansions or hiring remote employees in different regions.

Staffing Agency: Staffing agencies are ideal for short-term or project-based requirements, as they enable companies to quickly fill temporary positions or obtain specialized skills for specific tasks. The flexibility of staffing arrangements allows companies to scale their workforce up or down based on changing needs.

4. Cost Considerations:

Employer of Record (EOR): Engaging with an EOR involves a predictable cost structure, with a transparent fee for their services. While this may seem higher than the costs associated with direct hiring, it often includes various benefits such as handling compliance risks, HR support, and payroll management, which could save the client company time and resources.

Staffing Agency: Staffing agencies generally charge a markup fee on top of the worker’s compensation to cover their services. The overall cost may vary depending on factors like the position’s complexity, duration of engagement, and the level of expertise required. Companies need to weigh the benefits of the convenience provided by the staffing agency against the extra expenses involved.


In conclusion, both Employer of Record and Staffing services offer valuable options for businesses looking to augment their workforce. The choice between the two depends on the specific needs and goals of the company. For long-term expansions into new regions or countries, where legal compliance and administrative complexities are significant concerns, an Employer of Record might be the more suitable choice. Conversely, for short-term projects or specific skill requirements, a Staffing agency can swiftly provide access to qualified candidates without assuming legal employer responsibilities.

Ultimately, understanding the key differences between Employer of Record and Staffing is crucial for making informed decisions about workforce expansion strategies and ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations. Regardless of the chosen approach, both options can be valuable tools for companies striving to achieve their business objectives while effectively managing their human resources.