The Pros and Cons of Temporary Work

Job seeker deciding whether to do temporary workConsidering temporary work but on the fence? You’re not alone.

There are a lot varying opinions out there on whether or not temping is a good idea. Some people look down on temporary work, while others consider it to be a great solution and alternative to unemployment. And some even prefer temp work to long-term assignments!

But at the end of the day the only question that matters is this: Is temporary employment right for you? 

The only way to really know is to have a better picture of the benefits and drawbacks of temp jobs.

And we’re going to help you.

Here are some of the pros and cons of temporary work: 

Pros of temporary work: 
  1. Temp jobs offer flexibility.
  2. You can learn new skills.
  3. Temporary work can help you fill employment gaps. 
  4. Temp jobs can lead to permanent employment.
Cons of temporary work: 
  1. Temp jobs are short-term.
  2. You may not always feel like part of the team. 
  3. Temp work may not be exciting.
  4. Temp jobs may offer lower pay. 

In order to help you make a decision, we will break down some of the advantages and disadvantages of temporary work below. 

Pros of Temporary Work

1. Temp jobs offer flexibility.

One of the great things about temporary work is that you can tailor jobs to fit your schedule. You can choose to work as many or as few hours as you want, depending on what your needs are.

It may be ideal for someone who wants to try out a job without making an extensive commitment, or someone looking to earn an income fast. 

In fact, one in five people cite schedule flexibility as a reason for choosing temporary employment. 

That’s because temp work allows you to be the one in control, not just of your schedule, but of what roles you decide to take on. And you have the freedom to try new things whenever you feel like moving on. 

2. You can learn new skills.

Looking to start a career, change fields, or build upon your current skills? Temporary work can help you. 

Regardless of whether you do warehouse, production, clerical, or other types of work, you can add the skills you gain through temp employment to your resume. 

You might also get highly desirable, on-the-job training through short-term work. For instance, some temp jobs provide forklift or machine operation training. Two valuable skills that are prerequisite for many higher-paying positions. 

All of this can increase your value to potential employers. Hiring managers are always looking for people with a variety of skills. 

And if you are joining the workforce for the first time, temping can be a great way for you to gain necessary experience and build towards a long-term career.

3. Temporary work can help you fill employment gaps.

Some people are reluctant to take on temporary work, even when unemployed, thinking that temp work may not look “good” on their resume. 

But, in reality, temporary assignments are great for plugging the spaces between long-term roles. In fact, according to the American Staffing Association, 64% of temp employees work in temporary positions to fill in the gaps between jobs.

Not only will you be able to earn some money while you search for the right fit, it will make you look more favorable in the eyes of hiring managers. 

This is because employers can be reluctant to hire people with long periods of unemployment on their resume. For them, it can be reflective of a lack of commitment and dedication.

Showing a consistent work history will reassure hiring managers that you are responsible. And it may increase the likelihood of you getting contacted when applying to long-term jobs.

4. Temp jobs can lead to permanent employment.

While a job may begin as a temporary role, it’s possible for it to turn into a permanent position. 

How?

Short-term assignments give you a chance to get your foot in the door with a specific company or team. If you prove to be a reliable worker, hiring managers at that company will be more likely to consider you when an internal position opens up. 

After all, businesses would rather hire someone they know can do the work, than a new person they have to completely train. 

Besides, any temp job gives you an opportunity to build valuable connections with managers and permanent workers, who can then refer you for jobs, in and out of their company. 

Cons of Temporary Work

1. The jobs are short-term.

Most temporary assignments exist to support companies with immediate, short-term needs. 

For example, you may be supporting a business during their busy season, helping with a special project, or maybe even covering for someone on leave. 

These roles are not typically meant to be ongoing and usually range from a few days to a few weeks. While it is possible for them to last longer, if you are looking for a career home a temp job is not a sure bet. 

If you are considering temping long-term, you will have to be open to frequently looking for your next opportunity. Something to keep in mind if you are looking for something steady and secure. 

2. You may not always feel like part of the team.

Even though temporary workers do valuable work and play a big part in helping companies meet their business goals, they can sometimes feel isolated or separated from other employees. 

Coworkers might be less likely to build connections with you if they think you won’t be around long. Similarly, you may find yourself excluded from team meetings or other activities, which could potentially lower your morale.

If the thought of this doesn’t sit right with you, a temp job might not be the best fit for you. But if you are comfortable working independently, and don’t need lots of external validation, it might still be a good option. 

3. Temp work may not be exciting.

Many temp jobs are not glamorous. As a matter of fact, many are monotonous, maybe even a little boring. 

Due to their short-term nature, temp jobs are usually simple and do not always offer much variety. Nor do they always allow for extensive training or higher-level tasks. 

You may be performing repetitive tasks or even really simple tasks throughout the day.

It’s also important to note that oftentimes, temporary employment is more industrial in nature. You could be working in a warehouse or on a production line. 

So, if you want excitement or a lot of variety in your workday, temp assignments may not be the way to go. But if you are primarily interested in making some money and the type of job you do doesn’t matter as much, it could turn out great for you.

4. Temp jobs may offer lower pay.

Because a majority of the temporary jobs are entry-level and short-term in nature, they don’t always pay as much as higher-skilled jobs.

That’s not to say that the pay for a temp assignment is not comparable to the same long-term role, but you won’t receive benefits and perks from the employer, meaning that your overall compensation will be lower. 

This might be a deal breaker for some. But if you’re looking to avoid the stress and strain of unemployment and need to pay the bills, temp jobs can be a great option. 

As you can see, temp jobs have lots of advantages, but they may not be right for everyone. It’s up to you to decide whether they are a good choice according to your needs.

Partnering with a Staffing Agency

If you’re considering temporary work, a staffing agency can be a great resource. Recruiters are knowledgeable, motivated and well-connected.

Many staffing firms work with companies across various industries. You will have access to lots of jobs, some that you may not even have thought about. With more options available, you’ll have more say in the types of jobs you take. 

Not to mention, if employed by a staffing agency, you may be eligible to receive health, dental and vision benefits that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you as a short-term worker.

What’s more, recruiters will be with you every step of the way. They will support your job search, prepare you for interviews, check in on you when you’re on a job, and help you find more work when your assignment ends. 

Want to learn more about short-term jobs and how staffing agencies can help you? 

Check out these great articles on our blog:

How TERRA Can Be a Resource

Looking for employment and on the fence about taking on temporary assignments? Try partnering with TERRA!

We specialize in temp, temp-to-hire, contract, and permanent staffing and have many employment opportunities available. 

With offices in the Seattle/Greater Puget Sound, Portland, Phoenix, and Denver metro areas, we can connect you to many employers currently hiring near you. 

To see some of the jobs we offer, check out our current job openings. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us! New jobs become available daily. 

 

(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.)

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