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To temp or not to temp? That is the question

Posted on 24/09/2019 by

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Mention a ‘temp’ 30 years ago, and the stereotypical image that might come to mind is that of a typist brought in at short notice to cover sickness. 

Fortunately, things have changed. 

Not everyone wants a 9 – 5 job these days. Shifts in workplace cultures, driven by advances in technology, are creating moves towards flexible working and a healthy work/life balance.  Indeed, over half of workers already work flexibly in some way, although two thirds say they cannot work in the way they would like to.

Temping gives the ultimate in flexible choice.  Temps make up 2.5% and the gig economy 3.5% of the workforce.  It may be a small sector but it’s growing – by 40% over the last 10 years. The result is that we are finding an increasing choice of temporary or short term contract positions from across the public and not for profit sectors.  There’s a push in these sectors to integrate digital across their areas of operation, embracing tactics such as social media.  The result is a growth in opportunities, particularly for digital and marcomms.

Why consider temping or contracting?

Let’s look at some of the real benefits to these ways of working.

You get great flexibility

Yes, you’re in control. It’s much easier to choose how many hours you want to work or to change positions if you are not enjoying the work than it would be with a permanent role. You’ll be able to fit work more effectively around other commitments in your life.

You can rapidly broaden your skill base

When you change positions regularly, you are repeatedly exposed to many different companies, cultures, products and services, systems, management styles, and so on. This gives you the chance to really up your skills, probably far faster than you would in a permanent position.  The ability to ‘reskill’ is an important issue identified for career success by the World Economic Forum. And of course,  you get to quickly find out what you enjoy and what you don’t.

It gives you key personal skills

Working temporarily can boost your self-confidence. You are the ‘new person’ again and again, and so you get to practise making friends and building new business relationships very regularly. It can help you develop key life skills, such as becoming more adaptable and resilient to change.

It helps you to build a network

We’ve all heard the expression, it’s not ‘what’ but ‘who’ you know. Business networking is a key element to career development. According to LinkedIn, up to 85% of positions are found through networking. And it’s just common sense that if you work in many different organisations, you’ll build up a far greater list of people in your contacts folder. Having done great work in a temporary position, you might find your dream permanent job comes through one of those connections.

What’s the downside?

Of course, it’s not for everyone. You need to consider that any temporary or contract role will by its nature be less secure. And it may be isolating. Whilst the other teams are well established, you are here today and gone tomorrow.

You also need to prepare yourself for some disappointment. The job sounded great at interview but if the doesn’t live up to expectations, then you might need to chalk it up to experience and move on sooner than you’d hoped.

Why it might suit you

Despite some downsides, this type of work is really suited to certain types of people. It’s definitely worth considering if you:-

  • crave variety
  • get bored easily
  • are not stressed by insecurity
  • enjoy new challenges
  • are not sure what you would like to do long term
  • have interests and hobbies you want to devote time to    
  • are happy to travel to different places

So cast off any prejudices you may have about non-permanent roles, and think seriously about whether it’s an option for you. With a variety of brilliant temporary and contract positions, especially across digital and marcomms roles, why not come in for a chat to find out more? Or contact the team on 020 7198 6030 or email