Temping is on the rise. A recent report from The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has highlighted a sharp increase in temp billings within the recruitment industry - the fastest seen since last April at the time of writing.
Since the EU Referendum, many companies have been holding back from large scale investment in full time staff, and are likely to continue to do so until they start to get a clearer view of what the economy might look like in the future.
There are still permanent jobs out there of course, but it's a good time to consider the benefits of temping. It's also important to challenge a few popular misconceptions about it: many people who are accustomed to permanent employment, or those new to the job market after leaving education, may balk at the idea of temp work. But there are many reasons why it can be a great option.
As well as being an effective way to gain very marketable experience, temping offers more benefits and rights and better pay than is commonly assumed. For some, it's even a lifestyle choice.
Here are 11 reasons why you should consider being a temp.
1. Temps can gain great experience, fast.
Temping can provide opportunities to gain a lot of skills and expertise, in a variety of roles, businesses and cultures, at an accelerated rate. It can arm you with important soft skills like adaptability, and provide an intense learning curve of hard and soft skills gained in short assignments. Temps present less of a risk to employers who don't want to invest in people in the long term, so the likelihood of temps being able to gain valuable, broad experience quite quickly is increased.
2. Temps are in an increasingly commanding position
Many organisations bring in temps to help them deliver a project or undergo a challenging period of change on quite a fast timescale. This means that temps can be in high demand; even more the case for those with experience of working through change. Experienced contractors are in a commanding position and many will do very well out of the current economic climate as demand for temps increases.
But even if you're starting out as a temp and haven't yet had the opportunity to gain lots of experience, being a temp means you're quite likely to. Now is the time to make the most of any opportunity to work your way up the pay grade by gaining new skills and experience.
3. Temping can open doors
Entry-level job seekers can assume temping looks bad on a CV and may be holding out for longer-term employment. But think about how much better your CV will look if you have some interesting temping roles you can talk about – it shows you have ambition and drive, valuable skills and experience and demonstrates that you're reliable. Temping also provides great networking opportunities, and many businesses who aren't willing to commit to a new permanent role end up creating one for temps they like.
So temping can open doors. You can sit at a PC and apply for thousands of roles, but it's surprising how much easier it is to be successful when you're already working – you develop contacts, referrals, reputation and you may even get offered a permanent job!
4. It's not true that temp candidates aren't good candidates
Quite apart from (often wrong) perceptions about money, there are a number of reasons people don't like the idea of temping. These are usually misconceptions. One of the most common of these is that temps are somehow inferior as candidates. This isn't true.
As we've suggested above, temps gain good experience, often undergo quite intensive learning curves and, in many industries, are in demand when companies need good people, fast. If you've got some good temping experience but aren't sure how to articulate why it makes you an attractive candidate in an interview for a permanent role, a good recruitment partner should be able to help you to fine-tune your pitch.
5. Temping can help you to "try before you buy"
Temping can provide a great opportunity for you to try your hand at something before deciding whether or not it's for you. If you're new to the market, seeking a change of career or a return to work after a period of absence, temping can provide you with low-obligation opportunities to try a number of different organisations, roles and projects. This in turn can give you valuable breathing space where you can think about your next move and make an informed decision about what permanent role you want to pursue (if any). We've already mentioned that some companies offer permanent roles to temps that perform well – so that "try before you buy" can work both ways.
6. Temping is a great way of "on-boarding" into a full time role
Being a temp and then being offered full-time employment can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding ways of joining an organisation, meaning you avoid the unique discomfort of being on probation. Even if a temp is still expected to undergo a period of probation after being taken on full time, they often feel less scrutinised, more acclimatised and more established as part of the team.
7. If it's flexibility you seek, temping could be your holy grail!
Temping provides great work/life balance. You get to choose when you go on holiday and it's easier to fit studying (or interests, or being a carer or parent) around work. We know of quite a few senior temps and contractors who only work for 6 or 9 months of the year.
8. As a temp, you get more rights and benefits than you might think
The Agency Workers Directive gives equal treatment to those who have been with a hirer for 12 weeks in a given job. After that period as a temp working through an agency, you are entitled to similar employment rights as a permanent comparator member of staff, including the same pay as a permanent colleague doing the same job, automatic pension enrolment and paid annual leave. The annual leave entitlement should be enhanced from the statutory 28 days accrued from day one through your chosen agency, to the company's standard holiday entitlement. For example if the company you join offers 25 days plus 8 Bank Holidays, you would then accrue your holiday based on 33 days from your 13th week in employment within that role.
9. It's not true that temps "earn less"
On that note, there are various kinds of temporary work, and many interim and contract workers, as well as some good old "standard" temps (people who work through an agency, for a client, for a limited period) can earn very good money.
A whole host of roles can experience "demand highs" that enable temp staff with the right skill-sets to significantly increase their hourly rate, even at a fairly junior level. To cite just one example, a large company needing to quickly process a backlog of invoices might pay well for Junior Accounts Assistants with experience of SAP.
10. Plenty of people choose the temping lifestyle because they enjoy it
We have a good number of candidates who love temping. They say they love the flexibility and the experience of meeting a wide range of people. They enjoy learning about different organisations, gain skills quickly and have a lot of experience gained over a relatively short period of time. We know some who have chosen to advance their careers and become more senior within their skillset, or specialise in a competitive or high-demand function; many of these wouldn't contemplate a full-time role, and choose when they work.
11. A good agency can help maximise your opportunities as a temp
If you're planning to temp, a good agency is worth its weight in gold. If you're going to register with an agency, make sure it's one that works well with temps and that you can develop a strong rapport and a one-to-one relationship with. Having a single point of contact (or as few as possible) who really knows you, your skills, preferences and work history can be invaluable in helping to ensure you get the roles you want. What's important here is YOU.
And that's why we recommend you work with us for temp opportunities in Winchester, Basingstoke and around Hampshire: we're not called 1-1 Recruitment for nothing!
Jargon-buster: Temps and Interims/Contractors – what's the difference?
Temping is a form of work assignment that is traditionally perceived as being for lower-level short-term roles, often to cover a period of absence or increased need. Interim/Contract appointments are often more senior roles worked for a set period/scheduled timescale, usually to help deliver projects. The main difference is seniority, but both are increasingly in demand. Both Temps and Interims usually work through an agency (of various and differing kinds), however there are various ways of being paid for example PAYE, Umbrella or Private Limited Company. In some ways, you can think of temps and Interims as very similar. Our experience is showing us that "traditional" low-end temps can move up the scale of demand by gaining new skills and valuable experience.