Temporary jobs - a stepping stone to a full-time role?

  | James Innes

Following the last major recession, companies across the board cut or froze positions. The job market became relatively static with fewer vacancies, with many employees choosing to stay put in their current roles, and ride out the storm.

As the economic climate has improved, companies have started to experience rising demand for their products and services. However, a number remain cautious when it comes to hiring, reluctant to add additional payroll costs and overhead, when the business environment remains relatively uncertain.

Rather than hire full-time staff, many businesses have turned to temporary workers as a way of filling the gap. From a company’s perspective, this makes a lot of sense. They can bring in skilled workers immediately to meet business needs, whilst keeping their staffing options flexible as they evaluate workload and customer demand. Temporary workers may be cheaper as they do not attract the same level of social insurance costs as a full-time employee. They are also easier to get rid of, as they usually have less employment rights than a full-time equivalent.

There may also be advantages for the worker. A temporary assignment can get them back into work, and earning a pay cheque. It also gives them the chance to expand their experience and learn new skills.

Crucially, a temporary job can give the employee the inside track when it comes to filling a full-time vacancy. An employer has the chance to evaluate the performance of a temp first hand, often performing in the role which needs to be filled. If they do well, fit in with the team and prove their value, it is much easier, cheaper and faster for them to be offered the job on a full-time basis, than go to the external labour market.

The use of temporary workers is likely to continue to be an attractive business model for companies looking for flexible staffing options. However, it may also be an attractive option for employees looking to get back into work, especially when it becomes, in effect, an extended employment interview.

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