It seems that 'permanent' jobs are something from the distant past and many employers seem reluctant to make the long-term commitment to full-time direct-employment.

Now employment is either contract or direct. Working an occasional contract job does not make you to a lifetime 'job-shopper'.
It is income and you can make it an interesting learning experience and, above all, it can bolster your self-confidence.

Some job seekers prefer the temporary or part-time employment. This can be a way to ease back into full-employment or ease into semi-retirement.

Important Distinctions:
Personnel (Human Relations) Departments work for the Employer to recruit new employees as needed.
Employment Agencies are contracted to perform a similar service for the Employer (Their Client!).

The fee that the Client-Employer pays the Employment Agency is based on the salary paid to the temporary worker recruited by the Employment Agency.
In trying for a direct hire position with an employer, the prospective employee is cautious about mentioning salary figures.
Since an Employment Agency handles the salary negotiations with their client, the Employment Agency needs to know your salary range requirements up front.

Employment Agencies have two major branches:
1) Client Management - Working with Employers to thoroughly understand their needs and sell services to them (The Source of Revenue).
2) Recruiting - Seeking Employees to fulfill their Client's needs. Ready to 'hit the ground running', with little if any learning curve.

If an entire Employment Agency does not specialize, individual offices probably will.

Ways you can Work with Employment Agencies:
Learn which Employment Agencies (offices) service employers needing your type of skills.

If they believe you are a good fit for their client's needs they will present you for an interview with their client.
Presumably, you are more of an expert than Employment Agency staff, so you can provide feedback to the Employment Agency.
If their client believes you are a very good fit, great, you will probably be working!

If not, the feedback you provide the Employment Agency staff will help them select a more suitable candidate for that position.
AND possibly endear you to the Employment Agency staff. It also helps them understand your skills for their next opportunity.

If hired (contracted), you are working with the Client's staff.
You are working for the Employment Agency -- they pay your salary. If any problems should arise, talk, first with your contact at the Employment Agency.

Many people working under contract build good relationships with their Employment Agency and get repeat business. To initiate this good relationship you need to keep in touch, on an agreeable frequency, with the Employment Agency recruiters. They are working for their client-employers, not for you.

You are likely to deal with more than one Employment Agency. It is possible that they may be vying to serve the same client.
You are responsible to assure that no more than one Employment Agency submits you to a given client's hiring manager. This is referred to as 'double submittal' and it is poison to all concerned. For you to be assured that this does not happen, it is reasonable for you to ask an Employment Agency who the supervisor they are submitting to is before they do it. The details of this kind of question can vary. Being submitted to two different departments (different supervisors) in a larger client organization should not be a problem.

When you are talking with an Employment Agency about a possible contract job, it does not hurt to ask about the possibility of 'temp to perm'. This is the arrangement between many Employment Agencies and their clients that allows for a smooth transition for a worker from contract to direct employment.

This could be your path into your dream job!

Employment Agency Research:
There are a lot of Employment Agencies out there.
Your challenge is to identify the agencies that you can enjoy working for:
* Are their Employer-Clients the type that might need your skills?
* Are their Employer-Clients in businesses that you would enjoy contributing to?
* Does the Agency understand the type of skills you have to offer?
* Does the Agency treat their Employer-Clients well?
* Does the Agency treat their Employees well?
* Can you build a communication partnership with the Agency? (Feedback from their Employer-Client)

This is research, very much like you would do to learn about prospective Direct-Hire Employers.