The temp market is flourishing - here's how you can make the most of itAsk any of the major recruitment companies and they will tell you the temp market is a flourishing one.

And it’s not just a flash in the pan. Agencies say their temps divisions have been busy for the past two or three years.

C&M Recruitment managing director Angus Chisholm said: “It’s particularly busy in business travel.

“The main reason is that, after a difficult few years, business people have started travelling again, but the travel management companies don’t have the number of staff to deal with demand.

“They’re starting to train people from the leisure sector with the relevant customer service skills, but that takes time. What they often need is good quality, experienced temps who can hit the ground running.”

AA Appointments managing director John Tolmie agreed.

He said: “The business travel market uses temps properly, which is not the case for other travel sectors. Business travel companies have got fairly strict service levels and a missed phone call is missed business.

“They plan well in advance for traditionally busy travelling periods, special projects or maternity cover. In other sectors, people will phone us up at the last minute.”

According to New Frontiers managing director, Julia Feuell, companies have started to use temps strategically, bringing them in on long-term contracts, which works out cheaper than paying for a full-time member of staff.

And, while temping used to be seen as an option for someone who didn’t know what they wanted to do, or someone who couldn’t hold down a proper job, it’s starting to be seen as a career in its own right.

Why temp?

It fits in around you

Temping is an excellent option if you want to travel, study or take time out, but still need to earn some extra money when necessary. It’s also a good option if you have come to a career crossroads and need a bit of a breather.

No office politics

This is one of the top reasons people say they like working as a temp. They can flit in and out, without getting bogged down with the politics that come with working full-time in an office. At the end of the day, you just walk out, leaving all that backstabbing behind you.

Good money and benefits

Per hour, temps earn more money than their full-time counterparts. Changes to employment law mean temps now get, for example, holiday entitlement and sick pay.

You can enhance your CV

Temps will find themselves working in a range of different companies, all with different working practices, and some that specialise in a particular sector. Many temps stay within a company for several weeks, moving around departments. The experience gained from exposing yourself to different working environments can only add weight to your CV.

You might find the perfect full-time job

For some people, temping leads to a permanent job. Statistically, these cases have a higher success rate than someone coming into a job blind. You already know what the working environment and the people are like.

Temps need to be…

Able to do the job

Travel management companies need people who can hit the ground running and take charge straightaway, not someone who has to ask questions every five minutes.

Technologically savvy

Recruitment agencies suggest temps know how to use both Galileo and Sabre global distribution systems, the two main GDSs used by travel management companies.

Flexible

Being a temp means you will find yourself working in small teams, large teams, near to home, further away, and at companies that have different start times, finish times and work ethics.

Confident

Temping is no job for a wallflower. It can be a lonely existence. Temps may well be ignored by permanent staff, who are far to busy to notice the new person in the corner. Even if you are lucky enough to be part of a friendly team, if will take several days at least before you’ll be able to fully join in with all the in-jokes.

Organised

Sounds obvious, but as a temp you have to make sure you know where you’re going, who you need to ask for on reception, and how long you are working there for. Keep a diary so you don’t double-book yourself.

Your rights

  • All temps are entitled to 20 days’ paid leave per year, once they start working for a temp agency (which works out at 1.6 days each month). Payment accrues in proportion to the amount of time temps continuously work for the agency, not the company they are contracted out to. But be careful, some recruitment companies include holiday pay in your hourly rate.
  • Temps may be entitled to statutory sick pay, and even statutory maternity pay, so long as they meet relevant criteria.
  • Some agencies give temps lunch vouchers, as well as paying travel expenses on certain assignments. Some give access to discounted holidays or run social events.
  • Temps’ jobs are not protected. A recruitment company or client can terminate a job without notice. On the other hand, a temp who is unhappy with an assignment can also leave without notice.

More about temporary workers’ rights from direct.gov.uk