Why Doesn’t My Temp Rate Reflect My Permanent Salary Expectations?

A common misconception that candidates have is that you will receive more money in temp roles because you are working on a casual basis. However, for a number of reasons, temps in the office support/admin space are rarely paid the rate that they would be expecting on a permanent basis (let along rate that exceeds it).


Consider why companies typically employ office support temps…Many of the temporary assignments that become available are short term. They can be to cover a ½ day of sick leave, a couple of weeks of annual leave or to take care of a temporary overflow of work. In these situations, because of the shorter nature of the assignment, clients tend to only require temps to complete quite mundane tasks. It is inefficient to train somebody on the more senior aspects of a role when the assignment is likely to be near its completion by the time that temp gets handle on those tasks.

So when a client calls us to ask for a temp receptionist to cover their front desk for one week, to literally answer phones, take messages and greet walk ins, we need to pay them a rate in line with the junior tasks and responsibilities of that role. While many people that are looking for temp work are more than over qualified for this assignment, we can’t pay them more money for the experience they have, because the client does not require that extra experience. We can only pay a temp in line with the duties of the role, not in line with their overall level of skill and experience.

Many temps will plea that they are worth the extra $$$ because they will be able to complete additional tasks, however this is irrelevant for the client. As an agency if we go back to a client with a more senior candidate and mention that they will need to pay a higher rate, more often then not the client will just say “well then find me a junior whose expectations are not higher than that of the role”.

The temporary assignments that require a more senior candidate (and therefore that pay more) are generally the longer term assignments. E.g. If an EA goes on leave for one week most clients tend to either hire a junior to complete the more mundane tasks of the role, or ask an existing employee to cover the role due to their existing knowledge of the company. However the longer the assignment the more likely that the client will require an EA that is of the same skill and experience level of the employee that is away or on leave. In this situation you may have a chance to match your salary, but only if the duties and responsibilities of the role are similar to the level of your experience.

However! While these roles do exist, they are not as common as the shorter, more basic temp assignments. In fact, as an office support recruitment agency that is often inundated with temporary assignments we can usually count on one hand the number of roles paying over $35 p/h each year. Therefore, if you are looking to temp while waiting to find your next permanent role, be warned, that you will have much less chance of gaining temporary work if you will only accept roles paying higher rates.

If you’re wondering why it might be worth it to take on these more basic temp assignments (which we strongly recommend) see my last post “Should I consider a temp role?” Alternatively, give Team Sprint a call on (02) 9271 0011.


Should I Consider a Temp Role?

I am currently unemployed… should I consider a temp role while looking for my next permanent role?

The Sprint People answer is…. YES!

There are many great benefits to temp work! Some candidates come to Sprint saying that they will only consider permanent options because temporary work is unstable, and looks inconsistent on a resume. For the large part of that statement, we disagree! Ever heard of the theory that activity stems from activity? Get busy if you want to be busy!

Here are some other great reasons why you should consider temporary work:

If you’re in the market for a permanent role, it always looks better on your CV if you have kept yourself busy in a temp assignment, rather than spending weeks or months unemployed.

Even if it’s just a one-day assignment you have the opportunity to network and build new connections! Remember, you never know where that next permanent role may come from. If you spend a day on reception, on the lowest hourly rate on earth, but you do a fantastic job… That employer may consider you for future roles throughout the business should they become available.

Temp roles frequently evolve into permanent opportunities. At Sprint, we find a high percentage of the temps we place are offered permanent roles within our clients businesses. Keep in mind it is often NOT in the role they were filling in temporarily, but another opportunity that is suited to their experience. We find our clients are confident speaking to the person who is temping with them about the role first as they already know them and have had first hand experience dealing with them in the workplace (better than an interview for many clients!)

Temping gives you the opportunity to demonstrate to your recruiter how great you are! When I place a temp and my client raves about their great performance, positive attitude etc., I feel confident going of my way to call all my clients and tell them what a great asset that candidate will be to their business. Our clients LOVE it when we refer a candidate that is already tried and tested.

You have the opportunity to gain insight into industries that you may not know much about (or in some instances that you’ve never heard of). Which may open your mind to new possibilities! You can gain exposure to different systems, processes and ideas that may assist you in your next role.

Lastly, it keeps some money coming in so that you’re not forced to accept the first permanent role that is offered to you. You spend so much time at work that it is worth waiting to secure a GREAT job, rather than settling for just any job.

Having said all this above, if you’re worried that temping is making your resume look a little unstable, then summarise your temp assignments into one heading e.g. “Temping through Sprint People in various admin/ reception roles”. There is no need to list every single one day assignment, but it is important to make special mention of any assignment that is extended for more than a couple of months, or where you gained a skill that may be required in a role you’re applying for.

It’s natural to freak out when you find yourself unemployed, but if you consider temping while you’re looking for that dream role then you can keep some $$$ coming in the door, while meeting new people, trying different environments, and gaining new skills – win, win, win, win!

For more information on temping and pay rates follow this blog to ensure you don’t miss next blog post “Why Doesn’t My Temp Rate Reflect My Permanent Salary Expectations?”. I have also written a blog series on how to be a good temp – you can read that here. Or, if you can’t wait that long, get in touch via sprint@sprintpeople.com.au or 92710022.