The run up to Christmas is a busy time for many businesses, so we are getting a lot of temporary jobs from our clients to fill. These could range from just a few days or weeks to a long term role lasting months. Some of our temporary workers have been with us for 2 years or more. Some have landed permanent jobs too after making a good impression on the company. Unfortunately, many people will turn their noses up at temporary work, concerned by the poor job security. So here’s why temporary work is worth a look.
If you’ve got limited experience in a role, perhaps you’ve recently left college, you’re a recent graduate looking for work, or you want to change the direction of your career, a temporary role can be a great way to get your foot in the door of an industry or company. Businesses often may need someone urgently and will often relax their usual requirements for the job, so being flexible, being in the right place at the right time, can count for more than having the specific experience. And the company is less at risk too, as there is no obligation if things don’t work out – for you, and for them too.
- Work on a unique project
In many niche job sectors such as HR, engineering or accounts, someone on a fixed term, interim contract or temporary placement may be brought into a company to help effect a change in the business. This might be transferring to a new system and providing training for other staff, or working on a single project in the business – in HR for example, an interim member of staff may be required to help recruit for a new office on a short contract. Jobs like this can be really rewarding as you’ll get to see something through from start to finish and make a real and lasting difference in the place you work.
- Get back into work immediately
Many temporary contracts get given to us at very short notice – 4pm on Friday for 9 the following Monday is probably about as down to the wire as we get! Companies will need temps where a staff member calls in sick or leaves the business suddenly with no-one to pick up the slack. If you’ve lost your job or been made redundant, taking a temporary position could mean you can start a job ASAP, often without even a need to interview with the business. We work with many clients who take on their temporary staff after a short time.
- Ensure you’ve got some money coming in while you look for something better
If your career path is pretty exclusive and jobs are few and far between, you could always take a temporary role to tide you over until you come across something better. Alternatively, maybe you’re starting out as self-employed or as a freelancer. A temporary position could give you a bit of an income for the meantime, and you’re not tied down by a notice period to start something new – just as businesses don’t have to give notice to get rid of a temporary worker, the temps themselves can up and leave whenever they like. You’ll get paid weekly to give a regular income, and your new employer may well provide you with networking opportunities too.
Depending on the role, businesses are looking for temporary staff to fit into their culture quickly, so a positive attitude, good timekeeping and keen-ness to learn are often more important than specific skills for the role. For interim contracts or more niche roles however, the ability to get the job done will often be more important. You will need to demonstrate these attributes both in your CV and at interview, so think of examples how you have done this in the past.
If you have no relevant workplace experience and are using temporary work it as a way to get on the career ladder or change career, no worries! Think of examples from your education, or other situations such as sports, hobbies and interests or voluntary work.
While temporary workers don’t have all the same protections as permanent staff, they are more protected thanks to the Agency Worker Regulation that ensures temps get access to the same facilities as permanent staff, and after 12 weeks are entitled to equal pay and holidays too. It might seem crazy now, but there was a time when temporary or agency staff weren’t even guaranteed to be able to use the same toilets as other staff! If you’re on a self-employed contract, temporary work is definitely a step in the right direction to more stable situation.
We wouldn’t advise anyone to leave a permanent position to take a temporary one without good reason, but if you’re out work temporary jobs are a great opportunity. With so many companies contacting us to recruit for temporary work, be it to cover maternity or sick leave, undertake a specific project, or simply to pitch in during a busy period, temporary work is definitely worth considering.
Originally published April 2014.