Stop viewing temps as second class citizens

Oct 14 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Employers need to stop thinking of temporary workers as people who simply can't find a better job.

Research by Britain's Recruitment & Employment Confederation has argued that employers need to stop seeing temps as a second class citizens and realise people often look for temporary work for a variety of positive reasons.

These can include gaining more flexibility, better pay and valuable experience.

The average agency worker was not low-skilled or low paid, even though this was often the stereotype among employers and permanent workers.

More than half were qualified to A-level or above, with nearly a third holding a degree or postgraduate qualification, it found.

As well as increasingly being seen a viable longer-term career option, temping provided a crucial steeping stone, said temps, with one in five using temporary work as a route into a permanent job.

Gareth Osborne, REC managing director, said: "Attitudes to work have changed, with variety and flexibility increasingly being the key indicators of job satisfaction.

"Traditional notions of job security are also being challenged, with individuals taking more responsibility for developing their own skills, experience and contacts," he added.

"At the same time, temps receive key benefits such as sick and holiday pay and this is making temping and contract work more attractive."

The REC has estimated there are around 28.73 million people currently employed in the UK, of which some 1.3 million are registered with employment agencies.

"Temping still provides a short-term solution and a way back into the labour market for many, but the research shows that the UK now has a diverse mix of temporary workers," stressed Osborne.

"This includes long-term or career temps, 'flexi-temps' who enjoy the work life balance, 'extra income temps', 'student temps' and 'stepping-stone' temps who are re-entering the workplace or in the process of finding permanent work," he added.