For many people Temporary jobs have been seen as a last choice as far as employment is concerned. There are drawbacks to temporary employment, the main one being the lack of security but there are also many advantages to this type of work. For an increasing number of people temporary jobs are a route into a long term position which may not have been available through the traditional application and interview route. Others use temporary jobs to fill gaps between college terms, to finance stays in a location whilst travelling, or as a way of gaining that vital work experience. There are some people that enjoy temporary work for its own sake, as they get a greater variety than having a permanent position but these tend to be exceptions rather than the rule.
In recent years changes in employment law has made it harder for temporary workers to be exploited and many of the employment benefits previously enjoyed by only permanent workers have been extended to temporary workers. These include things like holiday pay and time counted as continuous service. Temporary work is now mainly handled by recruitment agencies in the UK and anyone looking for temporary work would be best off registering with as many agencies as possible as not all temporary vacancies will get advertised by the agencies. In the industries that are traditional heavy users of temporary labour, such as manufacturing, cleaning and construction, there has been a large increase in the number of foreign workers taking the temporary roles, however there are still plenty of requirements for temporary labour and candidates shouldn’t have to wait for long to get these roles. There is more competition for temporary office jobs but there is again good demand for temporary workers to fill call centre positions.
There is not actually a clear divide between temporary and permanent work, temporary contracts exist in their own right but there is a marked increase in temp-to-perm roles where employees are given a temporary job on the understanding that this will turn into a permanent role after a set period of time, usually between eight and thirteen weeks. Temp to perm is also popular with employers as it leaves less risk than employing people on permanent contracts initially, but limits the amount of fees they pay recruitment agencies. With many companies only offering permanent positions subject to a three or six month probationary period, the line between permanent and temporary contracts is becoming increasingly blurred. In addition to this many more technical jobs are being offered on fixed term contracts which blur the distinction either further. Obviously most people will choose permanent jobs if offered them but there is less stigma attached to temporary work than there used to be.
Most people choose temporary work as it is often easier to get than a permanent contract and can start immediately or within a couple of days rather than going through a long winded interview process.
If this applies to you, remember that most temporary jobs are going to be filled by a recruitment consultant and they have different priorities to in house recruiters. Top of any recruitment consultants list is always reliability, they get paid only when the temp is attending the job and as such will always give the reliable temps the better jobs. If you are given a temporary position and let the recruitment consultants down by failing to show up to work, or walking off the site, you will immediately be placed in the file marked “Do not use” and will find it difficult to get another temporary position with this agency. Recruitment Consultants will also look for applicants that are flexible with regards to hours and location worked and if you can meet these requirements you should have no problems finding a temporary job.
If you are hoping to gain a long term position treat the job as you would if you had been offered a permanent job with a probationary period. Any temporary job is as good as a job interview from the candidate’s point of view, as no employer is likely to let a star employee slip through their fingers. If you have turned up on time, worked hard and kept out of trouble and don’t get offered a permanent job you will almost certainly be quickly found another position by the agency that placed you.