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

23 Sep 2014 | Naomi Marshall

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.


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