Temporary work or temporary employment refers to an employment situation where the working arrangement is limited to a certain period of time based on the needs of the employing organization. This employment, whereby workers are engaged only for a specific period of time, includes fixed-term, project- or task-based contracts, as well as seasonal or casual work, including day labor. Temporary employees are sometimes called “contractual”, “seasonal”, “interim”, “casual staff”, “outsourcing”, “freelance”; or the words may be shortened to “temps”. It is the engagement of workers on a very short term or on an occasional and intermittent basis, often for a specific number of hours, days, or weeks, in return for a wage set by the terms of the daily or periodic work agreement. In some instances, temporary, highly skilled professionals refer to themselves as consultants.
These days, job seekers have many reasons to take a temporary job:
- The job is usually only available as a temporary or “seasonal” job.
- A temporary job is preferred by the job seeker.
- A temporary job is all the job seekers can find in their local job market or field, at the current time.
Temporary work includes wage and salary workers whose job has a pre-determined termination date. It is different from secondment, which is the assignment of a member of one organization to another organization for a temporary period, and where the employee typically retains their salary and other employment rights from their primary organization but they work closely within the other organization to provide training and the sharing of experience. Employment terms may be based on the completion of a project, the availability of funding, or other circumstances.
Advantages – A temporary job definitely offers advantages to the job seeker:
- The temporary job may be exactly the job seeker wants, with a time limit for the employment commitment.
- It provides an income stream while the “real” job search continues.
- It may give the job seeker a chance to “test drive” a job, an employer, a profession, or an industry.
- It fills a gap in the experience needed for the next job.
Temporary workers may work full-time or part-time depending on the individual situation. In some instances, temporary workers receive benefits (such as health insurance), but usually, benefits are only given to permanent employees as a cost-cutting measure by the employer to save money. Not all temporary employees find jobs through a temporary employment agency. With the rise of the Internet and gig economy, many workers are now finding short-term jobs through freelance marketplaces: a situation that brings into being a global market for work.