The Pros and Cons of Temporary Work vs Permanent Work

businesswoman examining resume of candidate

At the end of February 2022, 1.8 million people wanted jobs but weren’t working.

If that’s you, then you’ve likely experienced the frustration of sending your resume out over and over without hearing a response.

You’ve highlighted your skills. You’ve showcased your experience. And, frankly, you’re tired of job hunting.

As it turns out, your job search doesn’t have to involve choosing between full-time and part-time work. You can consider the pros & cons of temp work vs permanent work as well.

What are the differences? Should you do one or the other? Read on to find out.

Wrapping Your Head Around Temp Work

Like the name says temp work describes a job placement with a set end date. Businesses may have a full-time employee on parental leave, other times they may be taking their time before moving on to their next hire.

Either way, that leaves plenty of work opportunities for you. Here are some of the pros and cons of temp jobs:

Pros of Temp Work

Believe it or not, there are people out there who love temp work so much so that they’re never getting a full-time job. What do these candidates see in temp jobs? By our count, there are at least three compelling reasons to consider temping:

1.  There’s Potential for Full-Time Work

Now more than ever, managers are all about “fit” and “demonstrated skills”. When you’re excelling in your role and showcasing your interpersonal skills, supervisors are more likely to see you as an ideal hire. In many ways, temp jobs make it possible for employers to take you for a metaphorical test drive.  In return it gives you the opportunity to assess whether you feel company culture and role are the right fit for you. 

2. The Jobs Are Flexible

Let’s say you’re launching a business or working on a passion project, however whilst you’re waiting for your venture to take off, you need to earn money.

What can you do?

Temporary workers are not typically being asked to step in and take on the full responsibility as would a permanent employee.  As a result, temporary work may allow people with other commitments to perform their work well whilst at work, however, not be expected to take it home, or are required to work excessive hours.

3. Temp Work Can Fill Out Your Resume

Have you been out of the workplace for a little while? If so, you may have employment and skill gaps within your resume. A well-chosen temp placement can effectively add value to your CV. Also, by completing temporary assignments, it demonstrates your ability to adapt quickly to a new role and any environment.

Cons of Temp Work

For all the advantages of temp work, it can have its downsides. Here are some of the cons associated with taking on temporary work:

1. The Jobs May Be Shorter Term

Shorter term assignments will put money in your account for a few months, however you get charged rent, utilities, and other bills all 12 months of the year. For individuals who are not proactive in lining up new projects, the all-or-nothing nature of temp work may be off-putting.

2. Financially temporary work can be inconsistent

Sometimes temp agencies have job openings, other times, they don’t. Job seekers who wish to have a regular income might not like this aspect of taking on temporary work.

3.  Lack of entitlements

As opposed to permanent employees, temporary workers get paid exactly for the hours they work, benefits like holiday pay, sick pay, compassionate leave etc. is all encompassed into their hourly rate.

Who Should Pursue Temp Work?

Ideal candidates for temp work include:

  • Visitors to Australia (backpackers)
  • Candidates in between permanent roles
  • Students who are available part-time
  • People with workplace-ready skills
  • Parents who are returning to the workforce
  • Semi-retired workers
  • Individuals dealing with extended job searches

Understanding Permanent Work

Picture a 9-to-5 employee who works for one company and you’ve nailed the whole concept of permanent work. When business is booming, companies need permanent employees to keep operations running smoothly. Here are the pros and cons of permanent jobs:

Pros of Permanent Work

In April 2022, part-time workers accounted for a mere 30 percent of Australia’s workforce. These are some of the most common reasons why permanent positions continue to be popular:

1. Stability

With a permanent role, you never have to worry about finding new work or landing another project. Why? Because your job doesn’t have a fixed end date.

All you must do is show up and keep performing.

2. Paid Time Off

Temporary and contract workers often only get paid when they work. Permanent workers, however, can book vacations and take mental health days whilst still getting paid. That’s the power of PTO.

3.  Extra Benefits

If you need a root canal or a trip to the hospital, how will you pay for it if you are not working?  As opposed to temporary workers permanent employees often receive additional benefits — extra sick days, compassionate leave etc.

Cons of Permanent Work

For all the positives associated with permanent work, there are still some negatives to be aware of. Here are a few of the more common drawbacks:

1. You Have Less Control Over Your Schedule

Temporary and casual workers can often set their own hours and days worked.  If your boss asks you to work overtime as a permanent employee, your response is basically, “How long do you need me for?”.

2. You Can Get Stuck in a Routine

Permanent roles are often limited in scope and focused on deliverables. As you get used to performing the same tasks, your skills may diminish in other areas.

3. It May (Eventually) Hurt Your Resume

Having a full-time, permanent position on your CV can show stability and responsibility. However, to some employers after a certain point, it may suggest a lack of passion and desire to expand.  This may set you up with roadblocks when you commence searching for other positions.

Who Should Pursue Permanent Work?

If you’re a job seeker who’s interested in:

  • A steady income
  • A chance for promotion and growth
  • Additional company benefits holiday pay, sick pay etc.

Get to Know the Pros & Cons of Temp Work vs Permanent Work

We’ve gone over the advantages and disadvantages of temp work vs permanent jobs. But none of that answers the million-dollar question:

How can you decide what type of work to pursue?

If you have monthly expenses, a family, and a mortgage to pay, a permanent job may be ideal. And as one of the best recruitment agencies in our area, we can help you find permanent work in Melbourne.

That being said, full-time permanent work may not be what you’re looking for. Whether due to  family commitments, study, working holiday, or personal ambition, there are many candidates out there who don’t want a full-time position. Fortunately, we also have a fantastic track record for helping people find temporary work in Melbourne.

Need more job-related advice? Want to learn more about the pros & cons of temporary work vs permanent work? Bookmark our site and read our blog for more guides like this one.

Posted in

Jill Wells

Jill Wells is the Managing Director of WellsGray Recruitment with over 30 years experience in the recruitment industry. Since 1998, Jill has built the reputation of WellsGray as one of Victoria’s leading specialist providers of temporary, contract and permanent staff, having proudly established long-term relationships with its clients and candidates.

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