Temporary service jobs have been with us since at least 1946 when William Russell Kelly opened the first temporary staffing agency. Since then, temp jobs have expanded to include accountants, financial officers, assembly-line workers, nurses, doctors, scientists, lawyers, and information technology professionals.
If at one time, temp workers were viewed as “second-tier” replacements for full-time staff, that is no longer true, as qualified candidates step up to the task and are often considered for full-time positions.
Temp workers can use their work to land full-time jobs, with networking possibilities and chances to demonstrate their professional chops. But many are also attracted to the arrangement as part of the growing gig economy. They may like the freedom and flexibility that temp work supplies and the chance to experience a variety of work environments.
According to a study published in 2019 by TrueBlue and Emsi, aggregating information from federal and state employment statistics, temporary help services employment is projected to grow to more than 3.2 million jobs by 2025 — an increase of nearly 254,000 jobs (8.5%) from 2019. This compares to 6% growth for all United States jobs for the same period.
As more workplaces explore flexible work arrangements, including virtual teams and work from home perks, temp service workers have a key role to play, taking jobs that no longer require a full-time position or filling in holes in existing teams.
With temp jobs on the rise in America, some employment industry observers speculate this could be a prelude to a greater surge in hiring overall, as companies give trials to potential workers with temp arrangements before making the situations permanent.
Other temp service job advantages include:
Getting wide exposure to different workplaces. If you don’t already know what type of work environment you want permanently, temp service jobs give you a chance to sample a wide variety of job cultures. Do you want to work in a large, dynamic organization, or one that is smaller and less focused on a single role? Do you want a fast-paced job? Are you interested in the private or public sector? Perhaps you’ll fall into a line of work you’ve never before considered.
Enjoying flexible work arrangements. While temp jobs often have full-time hours during the contract’s time frame, workers can take breaks between gigs, enjoying a little more R&R when they want it. The ability to take work when they need it also gives workers more flexibility to spend time with family and pursue other interests.
Acquiring more work experience and skills. Many people are looking for ways to move into more lucrative careers, taking courses as they can, and pursuing professional development opportunities. Temp work is a great way to get hands-on experience in a field that interests you – the kind of professional credentials many companies want.
Having more networking opportunities. Working for different companies gives you a wide range of networking opportunities, with people in management who are already used to talking to you about the type of work you like to do.
Embracing the new normal. Young workers are more prone to trying out different jobs than older generations. Millennials, for example, are over three times more likely to change jobs than other generations. So, temp work suits this desire for independence and change.
Disadvantages of Temp Service Jobs for Workers
Of course, no job is perfect. With a temp job, you might feel like an outsider at a work placement, especially if you are regarded as someone to put up with until the real person returns to their job. And if work doesn’t come in steadily, you may have concerns about your income. You also probably won’t have health insurance, paid vacations, or a pension plan.
Advantages of Hiring Temp Service Workers for Employers
For employers, temp workers can provide both a temporary fix for short-term staffing issues and a means to source permanent workers who demonstrate they can do the job properly and fit in nicely with the work culture.
The advantages of using temporary workers for employers also include:
Enabling quick responses to staffing and workload fluctuations. Skilled temporary workers can fill the gap if full-time employees go on vacation, leave, get sick, or suddenly quit. They can also prove useful for surges in workloads, seasonal fluctuations, special projects, and other reasons.
Saving time and money. For short-term hiring situations, temp employees can provide a quick replacement for a permanent worker and can cost less than using someone with a full-time salary.
Providing flexible staffing arrangements. Temporary workers have become a key component in the current shift to flexible work arrangements, appealing both to workers who like the freedom and work-life balance, as well as employers who use the mix of temp and full-time staff to run a more efficient workplace.
Evaluating workers without commitment. Finding, evaluating, and hiring new staff costs companies a lot of time and money. Using temp employees allows a business to evaluate new workers and hire them if they are a good fit. If they aren’t, they don’t need to be asked back to a job, and another temp worker can be given a tryout.
Disadvantages of Hiring Temp Service Workers for Employers
One of the perceived disadvantages of using temp workers is that they are second-rate compared to regular staff. While individual cases may vary, this stereotype does not hold, especially as many highly skilled workers increasingly embrace this type of work for personal reasons.
Other possible disadvantages include:
Continually having to train new temp workers.
Dealing with morale problems if temp workers labor alongside full-time employees for long periods without the same benefits or compensation.
In some cases, full-time employees may look at temp workers as outsiders.
Safety issues since research show that without proper preparation, temp workers are more prone to on-the-job accidents.
Temp-to-Hire Work Arrangements
Increasingly, employers are turning to temp workers to fill full-time positions after a tryout. These “temp-to-hire” or “contract-to-permanent role” arrangements usually last longer than typical temp service jobs — often between three to six months. The stint is similar to a probationary period, except it is easier for the employer to end if it doesn’t work out because they don’t have to call the worker in for another contract, and they don’t have to pay benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation.
But, generally, temp-to-hire is a win-win situation for workers and employers. The latter gets to assess potential permanent hires through real-job performances, including how they interact with other staff and fit into a particular business culture. For temp workers, it gives them the chance to show their working skills and attitude to a potential employer, which is much more compelling evidence than doing a good job interview.
Perhaps the best advice to give a temp worker looking to join a company is to treat the role as a permanent one right from the beginning, diligently completing assignments and demonstrating what a good fit they are for the job. Even if they don’t land the job, they will gain valuable experience that will help them be in good stead in future opportunities.
Find Temp Service Jobs
In trying to find the best workers, employers sometimes turn to specific temp agencies. More and more are relying on the services of Joblist, which aggregates millions of temp, contract, part-time, and full-time work positions from every major industry and sector across the country.
With powerful tools provided by Joblist, it’s easy for job seekers and employers to turn a productive temporary arrangement into a beautiful ongoing relationship.