by Kathy Kirchoff
The face of temporary work is changing. More companies are hiring temporary workers to fill their needs in an unstable economy instead of investing in full-time employees. And more highly-skilled people unable to find a permanent job are venturing into temporary work.
Temporary work can be very beneficial. I worked as a temporary worker for several years. It was a lifeline to me during a transitional time in my life, a chance to upgrade my skills, and an opportunity to find a permanent work situation.
There are pros and cons to this type of work that you should consider before deciding whether it’s a good fit for you:
- Temp work gives you a chance to earn while learning new skills. Temporary agencies often offer free training to help you learn current software.
- If you are seeking a permanent work situation, temporary work can be a helpful job search tool. Some temporary agencies often offer temp-to-hire opportunities, and their employees are sometimes offered permanent positions while on assignment.
- Some long-term temporary work assignments are available, limiting the number of times you have to switch jobs. The longer you work at an organization, the more you’ll find companies begin to treat you as an employee rather than a temporary worker.
- Temporary work offers a certain amount of flexibility—the option to work when you choose.
- Some agencies provide employment benefits depending on your length of service.
- The higher your skill level, the better your pay will typically be.
- Temporary work often doesn’t come with much job security or stability. Sometimes you will not know when your next assignment will start or end.
- Changing jobs often can be stressful. You’ll need to be prepared to learn new things, interact with new people, and function in different work environments. At time same time, you’re often expected to hit the ground running.
- The assignments you’re offered may not always suit your skill set and might be paid at different levels. You often have to take what is offered, because if you turn down too many offers, some agencies quit calling you or offer you less desirable positions.
- If a permanent position is your goal, temp work can actually get in the way of your search because your time for job hunting is limited.
- It can be hard to take time off. Generally, you won’t have sick or personal leave benefits and it’s not always workable or permissible to take vacation time while on assignment.
- Some companies don’t view temporary work in the best light. You may not be treated as part of the team, or it won’t be a good fit for your skill set. If you work too long as a temporary, companies may hesitate to hire you or may have to pay a fee to do so.
- Other people—friends, family, or your professional network—might not understand your choice to work as a temp. They may think you should be in a permanent situation, and influence you to think that way too.
There are many pros and cons for you to weigh before making a decision to work temporary. Gather all the information you can about the changing temporary workforce. To find employment and temporary agency information, visit our Employment and Temporary Agencies page on ISEEK.