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Top 10 myths about Temp working dispelled

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Permanent work may still be the primary choice for many professionals, but now more than ever, working people are looking for jobs that can fit around their lifestyle and not the other way around. Meanwhile, organisations eager to drive efficiency and boost agility are increasingly viewing Temporary workers as integral to operations – be it to meet seasonal demand or harness their specialist skills for niche projects.

Yet, while the Temporary industry has grown and changed, the perceptions of Temporary work have been much slower to shift. Some job seekers steer clear of temp opportunities for fear it will damage their prospects; others avoid fixed-term contracts because they think it’s likely to be low-level work.

Despite the digital revolution and the rise of the gig economy, Temp work gets a bad rep due to the myths and remnants of outdated facts that many still believe to be true. Fortunately, most of these myths are easily debunked.

Let’s take a look at the top 10:

1. Temp work is unskilled work

Once upon a time, the term ‘Temporary work’ would have been synonymous with manual labour or process-driven admin tasks. Today, business leaders are increasingly calling on skilled workers to complete high value projects without increasing overheads on a permanent basis. While there will always be those who hire temps for menial tasks, the labour market has seen a steady growth in the number of businesses actively and exclusively opting for Temporary talent over Permanent Employees to solve critical organisational challenges.

2. You can’t be part of the culture

Because Temporary work by nature is short-term, many job seekers are quick to assume their place in the business will always be as an outsider; that they will never gel with their co-workers or the culture as they would in a Permanent role. While hiring managers may place more importance on the skill-set of a Temp than their personality traits and potential culture fit, most Employers treat their Temporary staff just as they would their full-time recruits. They know that Employee engagement is the secret to productivity – what’s more, they know their Employer brand is on the line. Their aim is not to alienate Temporary staff – in fact, it’s generally the quite opposite.

3. You won’t receive any benefits

Join a company as a Temporary worker and you won’t get any of the perks that full-time Employees do. This is the line we always hear in reference to Employee benefits, and while it may vary depending on the company, a growing number of Employers are recognising the power of perks in attracting top-class Temporary staff.

4. Temp jobs aren’t a real career

It’s often assumed that those who opt for Temporary placements are delaying the inevitable. However, as culture has evolved, the idea of the traditional career path has been transformed. Many professionals today are eager to take advantage of the control and flexibility they gain from a Temporary job; they turn to short-term consulting roles as a means to gaining a wide range of experiences across various industries. It may not be a “job for life,” but in 2018, staying with one company throughout your entire career is much more unusual than hopping from role to role.

5. You will be paid less in a Temp job

As a Temporary worker, you are entitled to receive the national minimum wage for your age group as well as paid holiday. These rules exist to protect the rights of Temps, yet they mislead many jobseekers into thinking Temporary work will only earn them the minimum wage while their Permanent co-workers boast attractive salaries. While this may be true in some organisations, the shift in the way businesses use Temporary workers means managers will usually offer a competitive salary to attract high-calibre Candidates.

6. Temp workers are limiting their opportunities

By taking on a Temporary position, the assumption is that you will be closing the door to a wealth of opportunities from companies seeking full-time staff. However, if growing your professional network is the goal, what better way than to take on fixed-term placements and make a name for yourself through the value you add to companies on this basis? If a permanent job forms part of your future plans, a Temporary role can usually help you advance your job search: the key is to keep your ear to the ground and focus on building your professional reputation. After all, you never know when a full-time position might become available at your current company or which co-worker could recommend you for a role they’ve heard about through their own network.

7. You can't include Temporary work on a CV

As the Temp industry has grown, most businesses have come to view fixed-term employment as project-based consulting contracts that allow them access to the skills they need to fulfil an urgent requirement or tackle a high-level assignment. Hiring managers recognise the value in the experience that Temporary Candidates offer the business – they simply want to see tangible evidence on your CV of your capabilities, whether you developed them in Temporary or Permanent positions.

8. You can’t develop your skills

Without a full-time contract, how can you expect to grow and develop with a company? This myth prevents many professionals from pursuing Temporary opportunities for fear they will stagnate at a certain skill-level without investment from their Employer into training and development. In truth, professionals who work on a Temporary basis play an increasingly pivotal role in project management; they are often involved in high-value assignments that present them with new challenges. In this sense, Temporary workers are constantly learning on the job: each new experience allows them to enhance their skills and learn from the team around them.

9. Temporary work is unfulfilling

Because of the nature of Temporary work, job seekers can be quick to assume fixed-term contracts will not give them the same sense of satisfaction they would gain from climbing the career ladder within the same company. Yet, several studies have found the sense of self-efficacy and control gained through situational opportunities directly contributes to job satisfaction. Long term security may not be on offer, but having a significantly positive impact on a business’ bottom line through a short-term placement is undeniably rewarding for any professional.

10. Temp work should be a last resort

In this fast-paced, digitally-driven economy, both Employer and Employee want the same thing: flexibility. These workers benefit from the consulting lifestyle as they get the opportunity to work on a diverse range of assignments and take on new challenges while retaining control over how long they work and who they choose to work for. If you are eager to gain valuable experience but don’t want to tie yourself down to one company, securing a Temporary contract could provide you the perfect opportunity to hone your skills and improve your work-life balance.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.    

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