Ask Difference

Workforce vs. Staff — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 23, 2023
Workforce refers to the total number of people available to work in a specific industry or region, while Staff pertains to the group of people employed in a particular organization or for a specific job.
Workforce vs. Staff — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Workforce and Staff

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Key Differences

Workforce is a broad term that encapsulates all individuals who are available for work, whether they are currently employed or not. This might include those seeking employment, those who are underemployed, or even those who are part of a specific industry's potential labor pool. Staff, however, specifically refers to a group of individuals who are currently employed by a particular entity or organization.
Within a company, the workforce might be used to describe both its permanent employees and temporary ones, even if they work part-time or on a contractual basis. Staff, on the other hand, generally pertains to the people on the payroll, serving particular roles within the organization.
From a regional perspective, local governments or agencies might analyze the workforce to understand labor trends, potential growth, or areas of concern in employment sectors. In contrast, the term staff wouldn't typically be used in this broad societal context but is more confined to the realm of specific institutions or businesses.
When planning for expansion or exploring market potential, companies often assess the available workforce in a region, which would encompass the skills, talents, and number of individuals ready to work. Conversely, when a company wants to enhance its operations, they might focus on training their staff or hiring additional staff members to bolster specific departments.

Comparison Chart

Definition

Total individuals available for work.
Group of people employed by an organization.
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Employment Status

Can include employed, unemployed, or those seeking work.
Typically refers to currently employed individuals.

Scope

Broader, can refer to a region's or industry's available labor.
Narrower, specific to an organization or a specific job role.

Contextual Usage

Used in labor analytics, industry trends, or societal contexts.
Used in organizational, institutional, or business contexts.

Relationship to Entity

Describes potential or available labor pool for entities.
Describes people currently associated with a particular entity.

Compare with Definitions

Workforce

All individuals available for employment in a region or industry.
The local workforce is skilled and ready for employment.

Staff

The workforce within an institution or a specific sector.
The school's teaching staff is dedicated and experienced.

Workforce

Sum of all people contributing to the production of goods and services.
A skilled workforce is crucial for a nation's economic development.

Staff

A stick or cane carried as an aid in walking or climbing.

Workforce

Collective pool of potential labor within a sector.
The tech industry has a rapidly growing workforce.

Staff

A stout stick used as a weapon; a cudgel.

Workforce

The total number of workers employed by a specific company.
Our company's workforce has doubled in the past year.

Staff

A pole on which a flag is displayed; a flagstaff.

Workforce

The workforce or labour force is the labour pool either in employment or unemployed. It is generally used to describe those working for a single company or industry, but can also apply to a geographic region like a city, state, or country.

Staff

A rod or baton carried as a symbol of authority.

Workforce

The workers employed in a specific project or activity.

Staff

Pl. staffs A rule or similar graduated stick used for testing or measuring, as in surveying.

Workforce

All the people working or available to work, as in a nation, company, industry, or on a project.

Staff

A group of assistants to a manager, executive, or other person in authority.

Workforce

All the workers employed by a specific organization or state, or on a specific project.

Staff

A group of military officers assigned to assist a commanding officer in an executive or advisory capacity.

Workforce

The total population of a country or region that is employed or employable.

Staff

The personnel who carry out a specific enterprise
The nursing staff of a hospital.

Workforce

The force of workers available

Staff

Something that serves as a staple or support.

Workforce

Those involved in the labor market, including job seekers.
The national workforce is seeing increasing diversity.

Staff

(Music) A set of horizontal lines and intermediate spaces used in notation to represent a sequence of pitches, in modern notation normally consisting of five lines and four spaces. Also called stave.

Staff

A building material of plaster and fiber used as an exterior wall covering of temporary buildings, as at expositions.

Staff

To provide with a staff of workers or assistants.

Staff

To serve on the staff of (an organization).

Staff

A long, straight, thick wooden rod or stick, especially one used to assist in walking.

Staff

A series of horizontal lines on which musical notes are written; a stave.

Staff

The employees of a business.
The company employed 10 new members of staff this month.
The company has taken on 1600 more highly-paid staff.

Staff

(uncountable) A mixture of plaster and fibre used as a temporary exterior wall covering.W

Staff

A pole, stick, or wand borne as an ensign of authority; a badge of office.
A constable's staff

Staff

A pole upon which a flag is supported and displayed.

Staff

(archaic) The rung of a ladder.

Staff

A series of verses so disposed that, when it is concluded, the same order begins again; a stanza; a stave.

Staff

(engineering) An arbor, as of a wheel or a pinion of a watch.

Staff

(surgery) The grooved director for the gorget, or knife, used in cutting for stone in the bladder.

Staff

(military) An establishment of officers in various departments attached to an army, to a section of an army, or to the commander of an army. The general's staff consists of those officers about his person who are employed in carrying his commands into execution.

Staff

A form of token once used, in combination with a ticket, for safe train movements between two points on a single line.

Staff

(transitive) To supply (a business, volunteer organization, etc.) with employees or staff members.

Staff

A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument or weapon; a pole or stick, used for many purposes; as, a surveyor's staff; the staff of a spear or pike.
And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar to bear it withal.
With forks and staves the felon to pursue.

Staff

A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds.
The boy was the very staff of my age.
He spoke of it [beer] in "The Earnest Cry," and likewise in the "Scotch Drink," as one of the staffs of life which had been struck from the poor man's hand.

Staff

A pole, stick, or wand borne as an ensign of authority; a badge of office; as, a constable's staff.
Methought this staff, mine office badge in court,Was broke in twain.
All his officers brake their staves; but at their return new staves were delivered unto them.

Staff

A pole upon which a flag is supported and displayed.

Staff

The round of a ladder.
I ascended at one [ladder] of six hundred and thirty-nine staves.

Staff

A series of verses so disposed that, when it is concluded, the same order begins again; a stanza; a stave.
Cowley found out that no kind of staff is proper for an heroic poem, as being all too lyrical.

Staff

The five lines and the spaces on which music is written; - formerly called stave.

Staff

An arbor, as of a wheel or a pinion of a watch.

Staff

The grooved director for the gorget, or knife, used in cutting for stone in the bladder.

Staff

An establishment of officers in various departments attached to an army, to a section of an army, or to the commander of an army. The general's staff consists of those officers about his person who are employed in carrying his commands into execution. See État Major.

Staff

Hence: A body of assistants serving to carry into effect the plans of a superintendent or manager; sometimes used for the entire group of employees of an enterprise, excluding the top management; as, the staff of a newspaper.

Staff

Plaster combined with fibrous and other materials so as to be suitable for sculpture in relief or in the round, or for forming flat plates or boards of considerable size which can be nailed to framework to make the exterior of a larger structure, forming joints which may afterward be repaired and concealed with fresh plaster.

Staff

Personnel who assist their superior in carrying out an assigned task;
The hospital has an excellent nursing staff
The general relied on his staff to make routine decisions

Staff

The body of teachers and administrators at a school;
The dean addressed the letter to the entire staff of the university

Staff

A strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian purpose;
He walked with the help of a wooden staff

Staff

Building material consisting of plaster and hair; used to cover external surfaces of temporary structure (as at an exposition) or for decoration

Staff

A rod carried as a symbol

Staff

(music) the system of five horizontal lines on which the musical notes are written

Staff

Provide with staff;
This position is not always staffed

Staff

Serve on the staff of;
The two men staff the reception desk

Staff

Employees who work for a particular organization or company.
The staff at the hotel were exceptionally friendly.

Staff

Group of people responsible for a specific function or department.
The marketing staff has been working on a new campaign.

Staff

Those employed in a particular profession or occupation.
Medical staff rushed to the patient's aid.

Staff

A group assisting a leader in an executive or consultative capacity.
The senator's staff is addressing the recent concerns.

Common Curiosities

Can the terms Workforce and Staff be used interchangeably?

Not always, as workforce often refers to a broader labor pool, while staff is specific to an organization.

Is the term staff always related to corporate entities?

No, it can refer to employees in any organization, like schools, hospitals, or NGOs.

Does Workforce only include employed individuals?

No, it can include both employed and those seeking employment.

Can a small business have both a workforce and staff?

Yes, its workforce includes everyone working there, while staff refers to its employed individuals.

Can "workforce" refer to the employees of a single company?

Yes, in the context of that company, the term can be used that way.

Can volunteers be considered staff?

In some contexts, yes, especially if they serve roles akin to employed individuals.

Why might a company analyze its workforce differently than its staff?

Analyzing the workforce can focus on broader labor trends, while analyzing staff might focus on internal roles and performance.

Is everyone in the workforce necessarily looking for a job?

No, it includes those employed, seeking jobs, or even potentially available for work.

How does temporary employment affect definitions of workforce and staff?

Temporary employees can be part of both, but their inclusion might vary based on the context of discussion.

Do freelancers count as part of a company's staff?

Typically no, freelancers aren't formal staff but can be part of its broader workforce.

How is global workforce different from a company's staff?

Global workforce refers to labor availability worldwide, while a company's staff pertains to its employees.

Can the head of an organization be considered part of the staff?

Yes, in many contexts, leadership is included when referring to staff.

Is the concept of workforce only relevant to businesses?

No, it's relevant to regions, industries, and economies as a whole.

Is there a difference between staff members and staff?

"Staff members" refers to individual employees, while "staff" can refer to the collective group of employees.

Can the staff of a company be larger than its workforce?

Generally, no. Staff are typically a subset of a company's workforce.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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