Are Temp Jobs the New Career Track?

by Krantcents · 27 comments

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Over 40% more people hold temp jobs now than in 2009!  I recently read an article called Careers Are Dead which says the labor market has changed to temporary or contract work.  Temporary jobs used to be a stop gap solution for companies to fill positions as well as for people who desired flexibility or were between positions.  Is this just temporary or the new reality?

Some may think this is just a sign of the economy, but I think it is longer lasting.  This has been in the works for years.  It is one way to reduce the expense of hiring and retaining employees.  Just think about it, benefits are becoming very expensive!  Companies can contract with an agency and have a supply of employees and reduce their hiring expenses.  They can replace employees easier as well.

School districts are not hiring employees thanks to state budget issues in most states. How do they fill openings?  They hire substitute teachers who are paid less and must meet various criteria to get any benefits if at all.  Other professions that are in high demand have taken the same tactic too.  Hospitals are hiring Registered Nurses through a registry where they work on a per diem schedule.  This saves money in benefits and helps meet the demand for nurses.

If it stopped there, you may think it is isolated!  It is not isolated to industries or professions.  Temporary employment or contract work is a growth industry!  Staffing jobs is 6% higher year to year in first quarter of 2012.  The jobs ranged from clerical, industrial, health care, information technology, engineering, accounting, sales/marketing and legal.  In other words, everybody is vulnerable!  This is not new or related to the economic issues of the last few years.

It is domestic outsourcing!  I just coined a new term, but it is true.  It is a lower cost solution to uneven demand or economic volatility.  It doesn’t stop there!  It gets around all the costs of having a permanent staff.  The longer you are a permanent employee, the higher the cost of retaining you.  Employer costs are increasing and it is out pacing productivity increases.  You don’t have to be an efficiency expert to realize it costs more to have permanent employees

Are you ready for the new economy?  What are you going to do about it?  Starting a staffing company may be a choice!  Being your own boss is a solution, but not the only one.  This new economy of domestic outsourcing means you need to rise above your competition or look for new ways to find permanent employment.  Employers have the opportunity to see how you work before they actually hire you.  It is a great way to reduce their risks.

What you should do?  Temporary work is a great way to sample a lot of companies to find the one you want work for permanently.  Imagine you have an assignment at Google or Apple!  After you demonstrate your skills and abilities, let them know you are interested in coming aboard.  The company does not know that you want permanent work just because you are there.  This is your chance to impress the employer, bring your “A” game!

Be on time, go above and beyond, good soft skills are valuable and network.  Networking is not just at industry meetings, it is something you should be doing all the time.  This is an excellent opportunity to add to your network.  Most job opportunities are  not posted or public!  Better yet, you could get job before they even start the search.  In many companies, the manager has someone in mind for the job when they post the opening anyway.

Final Thoughts

This may be the new economy, but it does not have to be you!  The economy is difficult and you may not have a lot of choices.  Even, if you are unemployed or a new college graduate, you need to have goals and a plan.  You may have to take opportunities that may not lead anyway other than just a paycheck, but you need to look beyond the moment to find a way to your goals.  A temporary job may increase your opportunities, if you use it to your advantage.  I used opportunities to reach my goals, you can too! Temp jobs may be the new career track, but it is also a opportunity leading to permanent work too.

Photo by: photologue_np




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Lance@MoneyLife&More September 10, 2012 at 6:30 am

I am in accounting and know there are a ton of temp jobs out there. Luckily there are also a lot of permanent jobs. I had a colleague who loved temp jobs and made bank off of them. Contract accounting positions can pay very well if you have the right experience and find the right contract!

Krantcents September 10, 2012 at 7:01 am

When I was consulting, I filled a need in growing companies and a temporary need in others.

Little House September 10, 2012 at 7:10 am

Temp jobs are great, as long as they are temporary and not “permanent temporary.” You can’t get ahead financially stuck in a position like that (I know first hand, unfortunately.) However, it does provide lots of experience for a resume and hopefully good references.

Krantcents September 10, 2012 at 8:43 am

It can be a great way to convert to a permanent position too. In this economy, you have to use every opportnity to your advantage.

Veronica @ Pelican on Money September 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

I just try to keep my skills up to date as much as possible, because employers are constantly seeking people who can do the job of 2 others. It used to be you had to know how to do what you trained for, now everyone’s asking you to know how to do the jobs of other people. I found that having 3 independent skills is much easier to be employable than knowing how to do 1, no matter how much of an expert you are.

Krantcents September 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

The more skills you have the more valuable you are.

Brent Pittman September 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

I served as a recruiter for 3 years and can testify that temp workers are used a lot more than people realize. Almost all the major companies use temp workers. It’s like the dirty little secret, companies don’t want known.

My wife secured a high paying job as permanent job in Fortune 1000 company by going in as a temp worker and working her way up in less than a year.

Krantcents September 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm

It is a great way to get in the back door and prove yourself. After all there is an opening that will eventually need filling.

Jason Clayton | frugal habits September 11, 2012 at 6:11 am

I’ve worked a number of temp jobs while in college. Some were great, some… not so much. But it is definitely true that it can get you into a good company and a nice career if you work hard and the employer takes notice.

Also, I agree – you have a new term coined with “Domestic Outsourcing”.

Krantcents September 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

Temp jobs are opportunities to show your skills and get into great companies through the back door.

Darwin's Money September 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I see it with my company – rather than hiring new heads, they’re using temps (consultants, contractors) wherever they can. Easier to chop with no severance when workload drops, no benefits, no HR hassles, etc. I see this trend increasing where someday very, very few people will be permanent employees – just the leaders, decision makers, intellectual property creators, etc.

Krantcents September 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I can see this as a trend, but some people are irreplaceable. I see it on the clerical levels, technical and a few others, consultants or contractor may may up some more. It is a great way to select permanent people if they desire though. I am glad I am retiring (again) in less than 5 years. My children seem to avoid some of these pitfalls, but it could affect everyone.

Liquid September 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm

There are benefits to both temp and permanent jobs and I could see how different people’s personalities would lead them into different career choices. It’s ultimately up to the individual. If one chooses to hop around then one needs to learn the soft skills and technical knowledge to do that. If one wants a more stable job then show them how the individual can benefit the company by aligning one’s goals with that of the business’s long term strategy, or get a government job with a union and hope for the best :) Personally I like the stability of staying in one place. It’s a slower career path than changing jobs and looking for opportunity elsewhere, but it works for me, for now.

Krantcents September 12, 2012 at 6:54 am

In many ways consulting is a temp job! I did that for years. Right now, it appears to be one way to find permanent work, but it appears to be a trend.

101 Centavos September 12, 2012 at 2:59 am

The good thing about temping is that every day you get an opportunity to interview.
The bad thing about temping is that every day you get an opportunity to interview.

Krantcents September 12, 2012 at 6:55 am

You’re right! You get an opportunity to interview and assessed at the same time. It is just like a continuous audition!

Roshawn @ Watson Inc September 14, 2012 at 10:12 am

I think you are onto something. You have to have the long-term goals in mind. Otherwise, you risk perpetually drifting from one bad situation to another. Progressively, you can build a career.

Krantcents September 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

You have to use the situation to your advantage otherwise it is just a missed opportunity.

buz gal September 15, 2012 at 7:41 am

How do temp agencies get paid? Does the employer pay the agency or the employee? I am thinking this could be fairly lucrative venture to start a temp agency, hence how i found this blog.

Krantcents September 15, 2012 at 9:20 am

The employer pays the agency. For example, I may need a temporary clerk, I agree to pay $18 per hour for X hours per week. The agency in turn pays he employee.

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