Temp Job: To Do or Not to Do? | DCR Workforce Blog

Temp Job: To Do or Not to Do?

Things have really changed over the last 50+ years!  The $43 billion industry temp industry has grown from strength to strength – with the number of workers hitting the 2.5 million mark –even as the opportunities available to a temporary assignment, also known as gig, have expanded as our notion of temporary labor shifted.

Since the start of this millennium, dramatic shifts in the economy have forced companies to focus on flexibility and maximization of profit.  From simple office and administration tasks, temp work has grown to cover roles at the top, as contingent workers take up assignments as a company’s CEO or CFO. Today’s job market offers conditions which are conducive to the industry like little or no job security, lack of opportunities for growth, constant flux in skill requirements, globally the lowest entitlements to paid leaves and heightened focus on work-life balance. The provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – which set a cap on 50 employees for businesses – are expected to boost the industry to further heights.

The notion of lifetime employment was a casualty of massive layoffs and reductions in benefits offered to permanent employees. Today, workers are driven by the concept of lifetime engagement.

Much has been written about the poor worker who lost his job and was unable to find another permanent position, forcing him to take a precarious, temporary position routinely subject to the threat of elimination.  But does that accurately describe the current state of temporary workers?  So, why would I (or anyone) be interested to take up a temp job?

Here is an attempt to look critically at temp work and the attraction it holds as well as the issues it carries!


Temp work offers you the following:

  • A flexible schedule and variety in the work environment with new people to work with.
  • Challenging assignments which keep you motivated and help you gain new skills or hone them further.
  • The potential for workers with “in demand” skills to earn more on a temp gig than in a permanent job.
  • Opportunities to network.
  • Asimplified, rapid selection process that eliminates the delays and seemingly endless steps involved in pursuing a permanent positions.
  • Temporary workers on assignment with a staffing agency may have access to healthcare and other benefits.

These attractions render temp work more suitable to experienced workers with specialized skills.  Many recent college graduates, without a specific affinity with any particular industry, also appreciate the opportunity to ‘test drive’ different companies and positions before committing to a specific career path. Retirees also find temporary engagements particularly attractive for the flexibility and reduced work hours offered. Parenting demands and patient care are other reasons why a person would prefer to take up temp work.


Some of the issues with taking a temporary assignment include:

  • Periods of lull, between jobs.
  • Many positions do not offer health insurance, paid vacations and a pension plan.
  • Probable lack of camaraderie and hands-off approach from others at the workplace. (Though this attitude is changing at many workplaces as temporary workers are being recognized for being the assets they are.)

It pays to stay ahead of the changes around us to find a winning position, rather than taking a rigid stand and refusing to budge from it – whether we win or not!  One way to resolve the dilemma could be found in creating an effective decision matrix to choose the best option for you. Should the arrow ultimately direct you towards temp work – you may be better off taking it, without any further qualms.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.