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Five Myths and Realities Behind Temporary Work

Five Myths and Realities Behind Temporary Work

Temporary work remains a bright spot in the current job market, but many people may think that project assignments aren’t available in their industry or at their experience level. To help job seekers separate fact from fiction, temporary financial staffing firm Accountemps identified five myths commonly associated with temporary work and the realities behind them.

“Companies are increasingly turning to interim professionals at all levels to keep pace with rising workloads as they assess whether new staffing needs will be ongoing,” said Andrew Denka, executive director of Accountemps. “As a result, temporary work is frequently a common path to full-time employment and an important option for job seekers to explore.”

Following are five misconceptions about temporary work and the realities behind them:

Myth #1: Temporary assignments are mainly clerical or lower skilled.

Reality: The fastest growth in the temporary industry is in professional and technical occupations, as both businesses and professionals have realized the benefits of greater flexibility. Companies now hire interim professionals for positions ranging from entry-level accounting clerk to chief financial officer.

Myth #2: Temporary work can’t be included on a resume.

Reality: Temporary assignments can — and should — be included on a resume. List the staffing firm as your employer and then describe the job duties you have performed for various companies.

Myth #3: Temporary work will interfere with my search for a permanent position.

Reality: It could actually enhance it. Many businesses view interim engagements as a way to evaluate people for full-time roles and often hire temporary workers they’ve had an opportunity to observe firsthand. Project work also allows professionals to enhance their skill set and earn an income while continuing their search for a full-time job.

Myth #4: Temporary work doesn’t pay well.

Reality: Temporary and contract positions typically pay on par with salaried ones, and individuals with the most sought-after skills can often command a premium.

Myth #5: Job seekers will have to pay to work with a staffing firm.

Reality: Respectable staffing firms never charge candidates for their services. All fees are covered by the client companies.

Source: Accountemps

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14 comments

  1. I have been working as a temp since 2004. Actually, even that permanent job started as a temporary position. Unfortunately, the company moved to China and Brazil.
    I have enjoyed all of my temporary jobs, even those that didn’t pay all that well. I have a Master’s degree in Finance but no one seems to want an older worker on a permanent basis.
    However, since I came up through the ranks I am expert at the low level positions in Accounts Payable and Receivable, etc. and am able to frequently solve problems which are causing the problems that caused the company to need a temp.
    Some are very long term, such as filling in for a retiring accountant until the business is sold. Not to mention the fun of learning about all different kinds of businesses from the inside and then carrying that knowledge along to another one later.
    I could go on, but won’t. Just don’t turn down a temp job with a nice hourly rate, or at least one that pays better than unemployment, because you perceive that there is some stigma attached to temporary positions.

    Edna Grothem

  2. E. Stanford-Bruce

    As a former admin temp from the 70′s when minimum wage was 3.65 and benefits for a “Kelley Girl” did not exist, I say temporary work is not a good idea for everyone. I found it to be a total waste and never got a better, permanent job doing it. However,I did get a reputation for job hopping.
    There should be a cut-off for temporary work and that cutoff should be quick else there is a risk of becoming part of the “permanent underclass”. Also, if a person is social services dependent, temp positions that pay only enough to starve on jeopardize essential services. When the assignment ends,you go back to the services and deeper into the hole financially than the last time .

  3. I agree with KarenB, except that I’ve been doing it now for almost 4 years and since I’m a very established person with responsibilities like a mortgage, etc., the bills are still due on a certain date despite any gaps I have in these interim assignments. When one assignment ends, I usually have to dig around for another assignment and that search usually lasts anywhere for 4 to 8 weeks. The economy hasn’t allowed any of these employers to take me on permanently and the job market, even for temp work is very weak.

  4. These are great points. Surprisingly enough many people that I talk to believe these myths. Thank you for pointing this our Resume Bear!
    Justin recently posted..Bolder Boulder and Contributing to the Community

  5. Thanks once again, ResumeBear…another great article. The temp jobs are what are keeping so many people afloat.

  6. Since I have worked many long-term admin temp assignments, I know most of the ins and outs for working as a temp. I’ve had one or two temp jobs from hell, but all the rest were great. I’ve met great people, learned new skills, been paid well, and found some awesome positions with great benefits. For too long, most people have looked down on temping and haven’t realized the advantages it has. Temping sure beats not working and waiting to be called to interview.

  7. Temporary is becoming more and more prevalent in the USA. Businesses are using more and more temps to save money on benefits and insurance. So, this article is very important and shows the direction of American businesses. Thanks Resume Bear for another fantastic article.

  8. These are Tips I will pass onto others resumebear. It all makes sense in these changing times. Good info to know personally and to pass on to my social groups online so more people are aware of this!!

  9. Nice article, ResumeBear! It is so true that temporary positions are not at all what they used to be. But I can remember that my secretary worked a couple of hours at night as a temp doing word processing (before widespread use of PCs, when that was still a skill that commanded a premium) making $20 an hour, a lot more than we were paying her. That was an incredible wage for a 20-something-student 30 years ago.

  10. If it weren’t for temporary work, a lot of job seekers floating out there would feel even more helpless or out of luck. A job is an opportunity to make ourselves better people as well as provide for our loved ones. I’m glad the myths about temporary work assignments have been debunked in this article…hopefully we will learn that they mean more to our growth and chance at getting to the real prize, the career of your dreams.

    Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google or Twitter if you need me)

    • Karen I couldn’t agree more if it weren’t for temp jobs we would have no jobs. I am constantly telling people to go to the temp agency they will find you a job. I started out as a temp on this job and still am sort of even though I have been here for four years now. Another thing that people should know if you are a temp and you have a nice boss they will actually give you a pay raise I went from 9.00/hr to 10.00/hr after 3 yrs. I dont think that is too bad.

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