New week, new job: Your guide to temping in 2022

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Perhaps you're new to temporary work because you're between permanent roles. Or maybe you're looking for a short-term job while you study. Perhaps you have other upcoming commitments that mean you’re only intermittently available for work. Or maybe permanent roles in your chosen profession aren’t easy to find right now.

Whatever your situation, there are thousands of temporary roles up for grabs in every sector imaginable. Read our guide to temping and find out more about how it could work well as part of your own career path.

What is temping / temporary work?

In a nutshell, temping usually means taking on a short-term role, or multiple short-term roles through a recruitment agency such as HR GO. You might be working full-time or part-time, and for a few days, weeks or even months.

Some temp roles are just for a certain time of the year when extra staff are needed to help with heavy demand. For example, leading up to Christmas or in the summer. Others can take place at any time of year.

One question we’re often asked at HR GO is how temping is different to working part time.

If you work part time, you’ll normally work the same hours and shifts every week in the same job role with the same company. Think of it as basically the same as full-time work but with fewer working hours – usually less than 35 per week.

Temp work on the other hand, can be full or part-time. It is characterised by having an ending date or expected ending date. That’s because companies hiring temps are usually looking for workers to fill a position that they don’t expect to need permanently. For instance, they need more employees to work on a particular short-term project, or for seasonal work, or to fill a maternity/paternity leave position.

Most temp jobs (although not all) are short-term and offer you the flexibility of trying out multiple different roles. Or you could perform basically the same work for multiple different companies. In some cases, they can also lead to permanent positions. More on that later 😊

How am I paid?

When you work as a temp you earn an hourly wage and get paid weekly directly into your bank or building society account.

Most recruitment agencies pay on the Friday of the week after you’ve done the work (which is also known as being paid one week in arrears). So for example, if you work on a Tuesday and Wednesday one week, you would be paid for those days on the Friday of the following week.

What rights do I have as a temp?

From your first moment in a temp role you have a worker’s employment rights, which includes being paid the National Minimum Wage and receiving a certain minimum length of rest breaks.

You also have the same rights as permanent staff in the company you’re working in to use things like the canteen and car park. See more information on your rights to equal treatment as a temp from the government's website.

And if you work in the same role for the same company for 12 continuous weeks, you’re also eligible to the same things that permanent staff receive, for example:

  • ‘equal pay’ - the same pay as a permanent colleague doing the same job
  • automatic pension enrolment
  • paid annual leave

What tax do I pay as a temp?

If you earn over a certain amount, you need to pay Income Tax and National Insurance.

It’s all done for you, via the Pay As You Earn system (PAYE). This means that whatever appears in your bank account has had tax deducted already, just as with permanent work. If you have student loan repayments to make, this is done automatically through PAYE.

You’ll receive a payslip that shows how your pay (including any deductions) has been calculated. If you don't have a National Insurance number, you need to get in touch with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Why choose temporary work?

We’ve talked before about why temping can be a great choice (regardless of your age) for so many reasons. And there is a major advantage to working as a temp with an agency like HR GO. That’s because the agency is considered to be your employer, regardless of how many contracts you’ve been placed on. That means you can show consistent employment with one employer for multiple jobs. This is something that will look good on your CV especially if your aim is to find permanent employment in the future.

Working with an agency also means you can work closely with your recruitment consultant to discuss your availability each week to find a temp role that’s suited to you. It could be that you’re happy to cover one day a week at short notice, or perhaps you have more availability one week than the next. These kinds of availability requirements can more easily be filled by an agency than on your own. This makes temping a very appealing option when you aren't available for traditional, full-time permanent hours.

Other advantages of temping include:

  • Using as a steppingstone to other work
  • Filling a gap between permanent jobs
  • Gaining the valuable experience and skills you need for a permanent role
  • Getting a good insight into different sectors and roles without committing
  • Making potentially new useful contacts in the sector
  • Experiencing a company’s culture before deciding if you’d want to work there permanently
  • Beefing up your CV

Making the move from temp to perm

In some cases, temporary roles are a way for businesses to try out new employees before offering them a permanent position. These are listed as temp to perm positions and are a specific type of temp role.

But even with roles that are not temp to perm, temporary work can be a way to prove yourself in a role and turn it into something longer term. At HR GO we know many temp workers who’ve impressed their employers so much they’ve been asked to stay on permanently.

So how can you stand out from the crowd as a keeper? It’s a no-brainer that you need to be hard-working, reliable, and turn up on time. So, in addition, see if there are ways you can prove yourself beyond your job remit. This might mean offering to help introduce someone new, or lending a hand with an extra task, or demonstrating an additional area of proficiency beyond what you were hired for. Personality counts for a lot too. A positive, can-do attitude backed up by a good work ethic can work wonders.

Try to introduce yourself to as many people as possible and let them know that you’re looking for something more permanent. You can find a lot more tips from one of our earlier blogs on how to go from temp to perm.

Remember at HR GO we have a huge amount of temp roles up for grabs. From hospitality and leisure to call centre and customer service, there are plenty of vacancies whether you want to work full time or part time. Get in touch, and good luck!

Guide to temping with HR GO

Take a look at our Temporary Workers’ Handbook - a handy guide to being employed as a temporary worker with HR GO. It includes your rights as a temp, our policies and procedures and how to set yourself up for success in your roles.

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