Imagine the confusion and utter disbelief of die-hard Gere fans when they watch Julia Roberts sprint desperately to avoid a marriage with him in Runaway Bride. HR Analysts like me get equally confused by inputs coming in from ASA putting the number of temps shying away from permanent job offers at 23%, earning the name of ‘permatemps’! So, I set myself the task of understanding this phenomenon, much like Ike (Gere’s character in the movie alluded to).
Let us first consider the kind of work atmosphere that temps are likely to enjoy, if that is the word I really want! Why would anyone want to be in a position where they have no permanency, probably perceptibly less pay, no benefits, a lack of specified work space and of course, much less recognition and bonding with the other people in the same office? It would be fairly reasonable to assume here that – other than the immediate manager or co-worker – few people would be willing to invest the time and energy to bond with someone who will be out by the Anniversary day’s party/Thanksgiving/Christmas or any such event which usually brings people together.
The immediate perks of temping include fixed hours (and definitely less hours than those worked by the salaried people), with a definite plus of getting paid for every extra hour worked; flexible timings, variety in the work and opportunities. Some of them look upon the lesser hours of work as a boon and just love the increased family time. They also value the break time between temp jobs and the changes to the schedule and the variation, which follow each new temp job!
IT as a sector requires a high level of time commitment from employees and is driving people to seek project-based work. The resultant flexi-times and between-jobs break offer the only possible solution for IT sector employees to ensure some amount of work-life balance. A recent survey found 73% of them clearly professing a preference for project-based temp work.
Temps are sought after for filling top management roles, when their ability to strictly go by the merits of a situation and reach informed and appropriate decisions, unaffected by any political/emotional baggage. Highly qualified temps filling in for such top roles could get upwards of $300 an hour! Such temps come with clauses from the staffing agency forbidding any change of fealty and poaching, making it impossible for them to accept any offer of a permanent job.
Some of the qualified temps find that their pay will get cut if they took up a permanent position, which is a definite issue – as benefits are intangible and no one can eat them! So, temping is a clear option for such a person, especially when there is a spouse holding down a regular job to take care of the benefits etc.
All these rational reasons are aided and abetted by a genuine commitment phobia to take the number of ‘permatemps’ to new highs.
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