How Temping Can Help You Stay Afloat in the Covid-19 Era

How Temping Can Help You Stay Afloat in the Covid-19 Era
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Covid-19’s ramifications have gone much beyond public health to affect all aspects of our lives—social, political, and economic. The biggest pandemic the world has ever seen since the Spanish Flu of 1918 is showing no signs of retreat even as a definitive cure or a vaccine is yet to be found.

Various degrees of lockdowns imposed by governments worldwide have seen mixed results, with some countries witnessing success on this account, and others not so much. Yet what is indisputable is the damage to the economy on account of the lockdowns, precipitating declining demand and job losses in a manner unparalleled in recent history.

The UN projects that the world economy will shrink by 3.2% in 2020, wiping out the gains of the last four years. The ILO estimates that the jobs of about half the world’s working population, or 1.6 billion people, are at immediate risk due to Covid-19. The employment scenario in the UAE is similarly under threat with about 70% of companies in Dubai alone at risk of closure within the next six months as per a Dubai Chamber of Commerce survey.

In such a situation, it makes sense for employees to keep their options open vis-a-vis their employment plans. Many of you may have already been asked to take pay cuts, go on paid or unpaid leaves, or may’ve become victims of retrenchment. Temporary employment could offer a useful solution in this difficult time by assisting you with your job and earnings.

What is Temping?

‘Temping’ or temporary employment includes any type of work arrangement that is available for a specific period of time, such as a pre-agreed number of hours, days, weeks, or months; the duration of a specific task; as well as seasonal or casual work.

There is a common misconception that temporary work involves low-skilled or menial jobs, but today there are numerous white-collar jobs including IT, HR, finance, marketing, engineering and R&D which lend themselves effectively to temporary employment and in many cases offer better pay than a permanent job of the same profile. Professionals working these white-collar jobs are often called ‘consultants.’

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Temporary jobs may be full-time or part-time depending on the requirement. Temporary workers may either be associated with a temping agency or operate on an individual basis. Charges may be incurred on an hourly, weekly, monthly or project basis as specified in the work contract. Temporary staff are usually not extended benefits such as paid leaves, medical insurance etc. by the hiring company as these are the responsibility of the temping agency.

While hiring a temporary worker, the hiring company negotiates directly with the staffing agency and pays the fees to them which in turn pays the employee.

Temping in a Tough Economy

Temporary staffing comes with many advantages for the hiring company which makes it a popular choice for businesses. As economies reopen, companies may find it convenient to opt for temporary hires while navigating the tough economic environment.

On the other hand, employees whose jobs are affected by the lockdown may find temping to be an excellent solution to help them revive their earnings through alternative work arrangements more suited to the times. Here are three ways in which temping can help you navigate a challenging period such as the present by finding suitable work.

  • Temporary Work as a Solution for Job Loss

Businesses that are restarting their operations right now are doing so at a challenging time, emerging from a lockdown that has caused a drastic fall in demand. What’s more, they are staring at a bleak economic future, what with full revival expected to take a few years or more. Under the circumstances, temporary hiring allows companies to enjoy advantages such as flexibility and scalability of labour which are crucial to businesses at this point in time.

By hiring temporary workers, companies can save on time and resources that go into launching a full-fledged recruitment campaign. They can also do away with benefits like leaves, health insurance and social security which can be an additional drain on resources. Nor do they have to worry about factors like compliance and severance package if there is a need to downsize. In fact, the ability to scale up or down as necessary in response to business cycles is one of the key factors that attract businesses to temporary hiring.

Choosing temporary employment allows you to be part of a workforce that offers a wide range of advantages to businesses thus improving your chances of getting hired. It can help workers who have lost their jobs to the pandemic to start earning again. In addition, it helps prevent employment gaps in your CV which are seen as red flags by recruiters. Importantly, it could also lead to a permanent job through a temp-to-hire arrangement if you manage to impress the bosses with your work.

  • Temporary Work as a Solution to Pay Cuts

Many companies have been compelled to hand out pay cuts to workers amid declining demand and a fall in revenues. Suffering from pay cut comes with its own set of challenges including readjusting family budgets, curtailing consumption, and restructuring loan repayments. But with the UAE government allowing certain types of employees to work two jobs (a full-time job and a part-time one), taking up temporary work in addition to your full-time job can help you maintain your previous income level and protect you from making significant budgetary compromises.

However, employees must satisfy certain criteria to be eligible for a dual job and also obtain a license from the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) for the purpose. The protocol for obtaining the necessary permission and other factors has been discussed in detail here.

  • Temporary Work as a Networking Tool

Apart from being an employment avenue, temping can play a significant role through networking by introducing you to important people from your industry. Networking is one of the most underrated career strategies despite its immense potential to contribute to professional growth and advancement. Smart networking can not only help you make the next leap in your career but potentially support you throughout your remaining professional life.

Life as a Temporary Worker

Just like anything else, temporary work comes with its own pros and cons. You will find a lot of variety at work owing to the fact that you are always working with different employers on different assignments. It also affords more professional freedom than permanent employment while simultaneously being a fertile ground for networking.

On the other hand, temping may involve constantly operating in high-pressure environments and adapting to different corporate cultures. But these are minor drawbacks compared to the gains of finding a steady income source during an economic crisis like the present.

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