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Temporary vs Permanent Employment

As time goes by, we are seeing increased amounts of people taking on more temporary roles to suit around their lives. Due to demand, John Lewis have stated they will be recruiting 7000 temporary workers this Christmas, an increase of 2000 on last year. However, working in a permanent role seems to still be the most popular choice despite this increased uptake of temporary roles. Both forms of employment have their advantages and disadvantages and, ultimately, it is down to the individual’s preference as to which they choose.

Firstly, what is permanent employment? Permanent employees work for a company and are paid directly by that company. Permanent workers don’t have a contractually agreed end date to employment. As well as receiving a regular wage, they can often receive benefits like subsidized health care, paid holidays, holidays, sick time, or contributions to a retirement plan.

Compare this to temporary employment, where the work is limited to a certain amount of time, based on the needs of that organization. For example, covering for a maternity/paternity leave means you’ll only be there for the time in which that person is off, to cover for them. Likewise seasonal jobs, such as working in retail during Christmas, a lot of companies will recruit temporary workers to help during that busy period. Employees commonly find temporary work and get paid for that work through recruitment agencies, but there are some employers who hire temporary workers themselves.

Here at Kiwi Recruitment, we’ve investigated some of the pros and cons of both permanent and temporary work so you can make an informed decision as to which is best for you. 

Advantages of temporary work

  • Working in a temporary role allows you to earn an income whilst looking for a more permanent role. This can give you some financial stability in a time where your long-term employment is up in the air.
  • Working as a temp gives you a chance to see what it is like to work in a certain profession and industry without having to fully commit to it long term. It can certainly broaden your options in your job search in the future.
  • Making an impression whilst only on a temporary contract could open the door for a potential longer-term position within that company or even for another one in the same industry.
  • Having a temporary role under your belt adds to your experience that you may need on your CV to land a similar job in the future.
  • Working in a temporary role can often mean you are able to be more flexible with your hours and working days. However, this usually depends on the employer you are working for.

Disadvantages of temporary work

  • You can find it harder to form a working relationship with your colleagues in a temporary role as you are not able to develop a workplace bond in such a short amount of time.
  • Your benefits may be much less than that of a permanent role. For example, sick pay and holidays could be considerably less.
  • The opportunities to learn on the job are far less. This is because you are only there on a shorter-term basis, effectively filling a gap for that company.
  • It all depends on the job at hand, but some companies may pay less than the average industry hourly rate for temporary work due to the sheer volume of candidates they will take on.
  • Occasionally with a temporary job, there may not be an end date that is set in stone. If work happens to slow down earlier than anticipated, the employer can let you go earlier. While a temporary recruitment consultant is likely to find you more work fairly quickly, it still may not be ideal for someone who wants or needs some stability from their source of income. 

Advantages of permanent roles

  • Permanent work gives you financial security, as you receive a fixed wage every month.
  • There is also no contractual end date, further adding to that stability. If you want to leave, or your employer wants you to, you’ll both have to adhere to the notice period stated in your contract which should give you some time to find a new job.
  • Quite often in permanent employment, you will find that there is room for progression into a more senior role. This is usually within the organisation you already work for.
  • In a permanent role you won’t have to chase up your p45 every time you change employer, most of the time temporary workers will have to do this, which can be time-consuming.
  • There’s likely to be more employee benefits with a permanent position compared to a temporary one where you are likely to just receive the statutory minimum. Common employee benefits for permanent employees include health discounts, company sick pay, extra holiday entitlement, and rewards for hitting certain targets.

Disadvantages of permanent work

  • Working days and hours are very likely to be set with no room for flexibility in a permanent role. However, since the coronavirus pandemic this could have changed considerably due to the uncertainty your company may have faced.
  • The work you do is repetitive which can get tedious. Performing the same roles, in the same environment every day can be mentally draining.
  • Walking away from a permanent position is tough both mentally and contractually. You will have to work a period of notice if you want to leave, the length of which will depend on your contract. Leaving a team of people that you have developed working relationships with can also be a tough conversation to have when you want to leave.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to which is better. The answer is that every individual should do what is best for them and their lives.

Read more articles and news from Kiwi Recruitment here

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