Could Project Work Be for You? A Look at the Benefits of Temporary Employment

Are you harboring misconceptions about temporary work? We set the record straight.

September 16, 2010
from Accountemps

Lisa’s eight-year tenure with the only employer she’s ever had abruptly ended earlier this year. Her accounting firm was struggling financially and Lisa’s job was eliminated. From the day she was let go, Lisa has diligently sought another full-time accounting position.

Unfortunately, she’s had no luck.

Lisa’s colleague David, on the other hand, quickly connected with a specialized staffing firm after losing his job and has been busy ever since. How? Instead of waiting for the perfect position, he decided to accept the staffing firm’s offer to place him temporarily as an interim employee. Since then, he’s done project work for three different CPA firms — the most recent of which just offered him a permanent position.

After hearing the news, Lisa decided to ask David about interim work, which she’d never before considered. After discussing the idea with her, he explained that many of her impressions about temporary professionals were inaccurate. Lisa believed “temping” was only for clerical roles or seasonal holiday jobs, for instance.

Lisa is one of many people who fail to explore this employment option because of misconceptions, outdated information or lack of familiarity. To set the record straight, here is an overview of what you can gain from temporary work:

High-Level Assignments

The temporary industry has changed significantly over the years. Today organizations of all sizes in all industries tap project professionals at all levels to gain access to specialized skills that don’t exist internally and to help existing staff keep pace with rising workloads. Whether you’re a recent graduate interested in an entry-level tax accountant position or you have the experience to be an interim vice-president of finance, a staffing firm can help you locate appealing temporary arrangements or high-level consulting opportunities.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

This may come as a surprise, but compensation for many temporary roles is on par with the pay of salaried employees. The fastest growth in the temporary industry is in professional and technical occupations. In fact, if you possess a highly desirable mix of skills you might even be able to command a higher rate than your full-time counterparts. In addition to competitive wages, many staffing firms offer access to insurance programs (including medical, life and disability insurance, as well as dental, vision and prescription coverage.) Some of the larger, more progressive staffing companies even offer vacation/holiday pay, 401k programs and length-of-service awards.

Skills Development

Beyond compensation, some staffing organizations specializing in accounting and finance offer free training and e-learning opportunities. You’ll also have access to complimentary, cutting-edge information that’ll allow you to stay abreast of the latest industry developments, emerging trends and salary data.

Moreover, when working through a staffing firm, it’s possible to earn professional accreditations and get tuition reimbursement for relevant courses. Plus, no two temporary assignments are the same so you’ll be able to bolster your resume by broadening your knowledge and experience.

A Path to Full-Time Employment

To remain competitive (and in some situations to simply stay afloat) many organizations were forced to make deep personnel cuts during the recession. Consequently, employers remain very cautious and strategic when it comes to hiring.

Some firms have committed to operating with leaner teams and augmenting core staff with project professionals for the time being. Other companies, however, are using interim assignments as a way to test the waters and groom the most promising candidates for full-time roles. If you prove yourself indispensible during your “audition,” you’ll be top of mind when a permanent position opens up.

More Control Over Your Schedule

Interim work is an especially timely option for accounting and finance professionals who remain unemployed due to the uncertain economy. You can earn an income, expand your web of contacts and enhance your marketability, all while continuing to seek permanent employment.

When your staffing manager contacts you about an opportunity, you can accept or decline based on your current priorities and availability. For example, if you want 10 hours a week to focus solely on your job search, you can opt for assignments that fit with your schedule. That said, the flexibility of consulting life appeals to many people even in the best business climates. If you’re looking for better work/life balance, want to gain experience in a variety of environments or you need a less-traditional schedule to tend to family obligations, temporary work is worth exploring.

Many job seekers are facing a vastly changed labor market from the last time they looked for work. With competition fierce and companies hesitant to extend job offers without first seeing if a candidate fits, you may want to seriously consider contacting a staffing firm and learning even more about the benefits of project work.

The Temporary Industry: Notable Numbers

It’s no secret that job creation has been sluggish. The temporary industry has bucked the trend by reporting impressive numbers. Employment in the industry has risen by 363,000 since September 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. And according to a survey by our company, 24 percent of managers said they have increased their use of temporary and project professionals since the recession.

Accountemps is one of the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com.