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Could temp roles be the right career move for you?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 7 Aug 2023

Temporary jobs stereotypically have a bad name, typically due to the now out-of-date idea that people should stay in one job and make progress through that company for on-going job security. However, the idea that temporary jobs are bad for your career, is one that is rapidly changing. Temporary contracts, like everything else, have pros and cons for every job-seeker. As an individual, your job search should always be tailored to you and your needs, it will allow you to get the right outcome for you and hopefully end up with your dream job. 

There is no right way to set out your career path, so if this is something you’d like to learn more about, you should take the time to talk to companies and employers offering temp contracts. it’s important to know the difference between temp roles and part-time roles as well, so be aware of this when job seeking. 

But, how do you know if temp work is the right route for you?

You’re in control

With temporary jobs, the biggest benefit is flexibility. Temp roles often have a start and finish date in sight when you sign a contract, so if you need big chunks of time away from employment, this could be good for you. You are more likely to have the opportunity to choose when you are and when you aren’t working as well as where you'll be employed. You can choose something close to home or try working in a new environment for a while. The possibilities can be endless and for some, this means you’re in better control of your job and able to shape it around your personal life and other commitments. 

Whether you have a planned career break in the future or you have children to look after, short-term work can have benefits for a range of scenarios. It can be scary not to have a fixed job at first, you may worry about various things and sometimes not everything goes to plan, but you may enjoy the freedom that comes with this way of working. Over the last few years, we have adapted the workplace to become more flexible for its workers and temp contracts are no different. 

Learn new skills from different workplaces

When you’re jumping from job to job, you may get the opportunity to work in a variety of diverse businesses or industry sectors, depending on your skill set of course. If you’re not currently sure which career path is right for you or where you want to work permanently, short-term, fixed contracts can be a good way of taking the time to find your passion. You will have to stick to the length of your contract, but you won’t have to stick to the same job/industry for too long if you don’t think it’s right for you. 

This can be so much better than jumping around permanent jobs, which can potentially lead to creating career gaps on your CV. Temp roles can help you widen your knowledge and learn what you want to learn, whilst earning a wage. Plus, you may end up enjoying your career a lot more. Different places can give you different training opportunities that can lead to a huge range of skills. When you are constantly surrounded by new people, there will always be something new to learn and hopefully, you’ll never have a boring day. However, this does depend on the employer and the type of jobs you’re looking at applying for. So, if you have a skill that’s important to you, make sure you’re asking these important questions during the interview process. 


When you spend time working in a number of different places, you’re going to be meeting a lot of new people. It’s likely that these people will come from different backgrounds and bring an array of experience to their role. Take the time to get to know your temp colleagues, even if you don’t feel you’ll be there long enough. Get involved in conversation, team days and projects if you can. Make yourself known and memorable. This can not only lead to friendships in the workplace but it’s a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and meet new and interesting industry professionals. 

A perk of temp working is that you can move around, and you’re not tied down. So if your skills are needed again in a place you really enjoyed working, you have the contacts, they know your skills, they may come to you directly! This is why it’s important to work hard no matter what your situation. Knowing people in any industry is a great bonus, so getting to know as many people as you can and even after you leave it’s good to keep in contact with them via LinkedIn etc. You never know, these relationships can help you further down your career path. 

You are in demand

In a lot of different industries, temporary workers are always needed. Employers may need to outsource resources for many reasons. It could be down to sudden absences, employees leaving or if unexpected work suddenly arises. There could be a project that needs a lot more employees working on it and temp-employees are a quick and easy way for employers to get the people they need. It can also maintain permanent staff flexibility. No company should over-work their employees and by using temp staff, it means their current staff don’t have to push themselves too hard and can still maintain a good work-life balance. Temping is currently increasing in popularity, and it is beneficial to both the worker and the employer.

Make sure you’re treating it like a permanent role. Be prepared on your first day, be willing to learn and get stuck in. Just because you’re a temp worker doesn’t mean you should be expected to know how to do everything straight away. So be prepared to learn on the job and act with pace. You’ll get used to this after the first few temp roles you pick up - it gets easier!

Bigger and brighter things

If you’re offered a fixed term role at a company and you really enjoyed the time you spent there, there may be future opportunities if you decide you’d like to stay. Just because you’re working with temp roles, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. If you do find a role you’d like to stay and progress in, keep a look out for permanent jobs the company may be offering and potentially have the upper hand when it comes to applying. 

You know the people; you know the inner workings of the business and it can be something that makes you stick out more than other candidates. Temp work is what you make it, so if you want something more in the future, then you may have an opportunity sitting there for you. You can also ask the line manager; they’ll be able to help you with recruitment and you never know what may already be in the pipeline.

What now?

Temp work is not permanent – it’s in the name. So, you can decide what happens next. Whether it is a new route into a fresh industry or whether you want to further develop the skills you have. Changing temporary jobs can be easy, you don’t have to stay long (you may have a contract though) but no final decisions about your career have been made. If you want, short-term contracts can potentially lead to permanent roles after your contract has ended, or in the distant future. What’s important is that you don’t treat it like an interim position, give it your best shot and work hard to reach the goals you have set. Temporary employment is not a way out, it can provide freedom and flexibility, but you need to put in the right amount of effort. In regard to the financial aspect, it is what you make it. Temps can earn just as much, if more, than permanent staff. If you keep working hard and care about your jobs, you will be rewarded.

With every career option there are going to be advantages that win you over, but there is also the possibility of negatives. Although interim jobs are increasing in popularity for many of the reasons that have been mentioned, there is the downfall of no job security. This may be fine for you if you are looking for more time to do other things, but no job/financial security can be a scary thing to think about. So, it should be something that is thought over before you make the decision. Like everything else, interim work is for some job-seekers and not for others. You are not tied down to temporary contracts forever, the vast amount of experience on your CV can help you get the permanent job you may eventually want.

Temporary jobs allow you to have control over your career at whatever stage of life you are in. You can move around, travel or even accept potential job opportunities in other countries. The possibilities can be endless for the right person. Finding your next position and learning to know everyone in each job can be a hard task, but the outcome can be extraordinary for your career. After all, your career is what you make it, don’t regret anything.