Today’s turbulent economy – resulting in many businesses turning to temporary employees to avoid permanent headcount costs, and coupled with the need for a flexible workforce – means that now could be a very good time to consider temp or contract work. Temping can be a good career choice, but where do you start, and what are the benefits?
Perhaps the obvious starting point is to ensure you have a clear understanding of the temporary employment market and your rights. In an ideal world, I would recommend registering with a specialist recruitment consultancy which deals in this area to benefit from its experience and contacts. Once you’ve found the right agency, its consultants will get to know you and your strengths and will help propel you from role to role over a period of months, if not years.
A recruiter will also help explain your rights as dictated by the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) – in short this means upon satisfying the AWR criteria you could be afforded the same rights in relation to pay, overtime, holiday, and pensions (amongst others) as your permanent counterparts. Once you have the basics covered you will be well on your way to a successful and lengthy career.
And whether you’re aiming to fit work around your studies, your family, or simply get on the job ladder, temping not only allows you to network and make contacts with a wide range of professionals – and in a short space of time – but can also offer you exposure to a variety of industries and skills. It can also be a great way to help decide what exact role and type of organisation suits you best.
As you complete various assignments you will quickly add to your skill set and can in fact progress up the career ladder in a relatively short space of time. In fact one of our contractors started his career within an NHS trust as a Junior Information Analyst – just four years on he is now Head of Information. While some candidates are perhaps cautious of embarking on temporary work as it is deemed less stable than permanent work, many of our contractors are experiencing a steady stream of assignments over a number of years. This is particularly prevalent within the Public Sector where the use of fixed term contracts is gaining pace.
As you progress further in the temporary market, the pay can be far more lucrative than if you were doing the same type of work on a permanent basis. Certainly within specialist fields, professionals can command lucrative rates and have their choice of assignment. As a result, contractors can often pick and choose when their next assignment will be and whether they wish to take a career break without the risk of slipping into the long term unemployed category.
There’s no doubt that embarking on temporary employment can be daunting to those who have not done so before. Yet there are many benefits to be had so it is perhaps wise to explore this route before ruling it out completely. Good luck!