A guide to temping, contracting and interim jobs

Contracting jobs, temping jobs, and interim jobs, have all now evolved from simply being seen as stop-gap solutions, to now becoming credible and flexible career choices for many.

There are a whole range of exciting contracting jobs, temping jobs, and interim jobs, around the UK – particularly in large cities such as London. This is why we have dedicated teams of specialist consultants based in the capital and around the UK, helping to place candidates with our leading clients in these areas.  

If you’re considering looking beyond permanent job opportunities and moving into something more flexible, it’s worth considering the various types of roles available and how they differ.  To assist in your search we’ve put together this handy guide.

Contracting jobs

Contractors are typically paid on a pro-rata basis through a firm’s payroll. This can be on a fixed-term basis, or on a rolling contract, and companies use contractors in a number of different scenarios. Often this is during busy periods or to cover special projects, but contracts can also be used to assess an individual’s suitability for a more permanent role.

Normally, if a contractor is not part of another company or set of companies, the contractor is viewed as self-employed and would be expected to look after their own tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs). In this scenario, the contractor might not be entitled to the same rights as permanent workers but the recruiter is still responsible for their health and safety. If the contractor is a part of another company or set of companies, then whereas temps are usually paid by the hour without the perks of their permanent counterparts, contractors will often have the same benefits and holiday entitlement as permanent employees.

The terms of a contractor’s employment normally strictly adhere closely to the following rules:

  • The contract lasts for a certain length of time; 
  • The contract is set in advance; and 
  • The contract ends when the assigned event/project is completed.

If a project overruns, conditions of that should be stated in the terms of the contract and as a contractor, you’ll be able to enjoy the flexibility and breadth of new experiences that contract jobs offer. Contractors can experience a variety of job roles within the private and public sectors, and the pay is significantly more than non-contract jobs. See our Benefits of Contracting article for more insights.

A contractor’s CV is their most valuable tool and when it comes to listing your contracting jobs be sure to list the name of the company that you worked for - not the contracting agency. This allows you to stand out in a competitive market and it also gives the recruiter a much better insight into the culture and size of the businesses that you once worked for. However, be prepared to have explanations for why you left your previous roles.

When approaching your CV, it pays to create a contract-specific version and a summary will serve as a great introduction point to showcase the experience gained from all your contracting jobs. Search our contract jobs page now to find the right one for you.

Temping jobs

Temporary workers are considered a vital part of staffing strategies for many businesses. Although temp jobs are still used by many people as a short-term measure, they are the chosen, ongoing quick career path for many others. Temping can be a great solution for students and graduates who need to earn money while they study, or for those trying to re-enter the workforce after a period away from work. Equally, it can be a good move for those between jobs, or those who crave flexibility and variety from their work life. 

As a temp, you’re not entitled to receive all of the same benefits or job security as permanent employees but it can still be a reliable source of regular, well-paid work – typically paid by the hour. 

As a temp, it will be the recruiter that pays the agency the employee wages and it’s the agency’s responsibility to make sure workers get their rights. However, after 12 weeks’ continuous employment in the same role, agency temp workers are entitled to the same terms and conditions as permanent employees. This includes annual leave and breaks. For your CV as a temp, focus on the big wins. It’s the places and job tasks that will really impress.

If you are keen to ultimately find a permanent role, temping can help to keep your CV looking healthy and your skills sharp while you search for the right position. Visit our temporary jobs page and see if there’s a job that fits for you. Or if you’d like a more concentrated search of the London area, visit our temporary jobs for London page.

Interim jobs

From the pool of interim workers, interim managers are generally the most sought after group. They tend to be highly experienced professionals with niche skills who can step into specific business situations quickly and make a real impact. But on the whole, interim workers will be recruited for their specialist experience in developing or improving upon a particular area of a business. This could involve leading a team or project in light of a sudden absence or departure. Equally, interims may be required to take the lead during a period of change for a business or to instigate a new initiative.

The best way to approach your interim job search is to be clear and honest about what you achieved in your previous interim roles. If you have project management experience then be specific on exactly the type of projects you managed, the type of tasks you completed and what the role required on a day-on-day basis. Were your targets achieved and did you save the business money? 

Interim work is all about making a difference in a short space of time so it needs people that possess a quick thinking skill set, people that can problem solve and lead and follow through on their decisions. From the top level where interim managers take strategic approaches, to interim executives/officers, who rather than simply consulting, are responsible for actually getting the business as usual day-to-day job done, see our Michael Page interim jobs and find the right one for you.

Although we place temporary, contract and interim candidates through most of our specialist teams, we also have a business dedicated to placing interim managers in competitive and rewarding positions. Find out more about Page Executive Interim now.

To summarise, contracting jobs, temping jobs, and interim jobs, all allow a degree of flexibility and provide a great way to quickly build a range of experience. If you are considering temp, contract or interim work, start your search on Michael Page jobs today.

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