‘Just a temp’ unfair and unfounded?

No-one calls for a ‘temp’ unless there’s some sort of problem – work overload, a key staffer who is away for some reason or unexpectedly resigns. Sometimes it’s planned leave or a special project that’s eating up resources. All sorts of reasons can have managers losing sleep over issues that boil down to an office being understaffed.


It’s been twenty years now since I found my niche matching adaptable, well qualified professionals into temporary vacancies in offices across Brisbane.

So, there’s a lot of satisfaction for me in being able to quickly ease their distress by sending along a qualified, market-experienced office worker. This is always an individual I know can be relied on to quickly absorb the culture and settle in as a valuable addition to the team.

I expect my ‘temps’ to learn the ropes, work out what the job is all about, define the expectations start producing on Day One. And, I’m rarely disappointed. (Obviously, neither are the clients.

We know from experience that when the assignment is finished, 80% of temps are offered a permanent job!

When you think about it, you’ll realise just what a Big Ask it is to expect any office professional to slot smoothly into a temporary role. There’s a great deal of effort, energy, adjustment and self-assurance each one of them needs to invest to live up to expectations.

So, you’ll understand why it really makes my blood boil when I hear someone say:

“Oh, s/he’s just a temp”.

Considering that professionals on temporary assignments are contracted to solve a particular business dilemma, any temp is an important person within the office – no matter what they’re tasked with.

They’re very carefully chosen. Each temporary worker we send out to our clients is selected since s/he is the best person available in the market to fill that role at that time.

We know our temporary contractors well. And we choose them to represent us because of their qualifications, skills and performance but also because they’re quick to learn, flexible and able to adapt.

It’s unreasonable to expect that each temp is blessed with the explicit skills demanded by each specific role.

But since they are carefully matched for their market-proven experience in comparable roles, fit the culture, bring a high work ethic and great attitude, they have the aptitude to join the team and make a difference.

Temps are high performing professionals.

So, you’ll understand why I get extremely irate when I hear them described as ‘just temps’. Inclusion, respect and professional courtesy are not the sole preserve of permanent employees. People take up temporary work for any number of reasons. And in the ‘gig economy’ of today, actually lead the vanguard in contemporary employment trends.

So, get to know your placement agency; help them to understand the workings of your business and give a comprehensive brief for any temp assignment you’re offering.

Then, you can be assured that the individual who comes to help you with your problem can be accurately introduced as

“…an office professional here on assignment.”

Written by: Annette Rafter, Executive Consultant, Temporary Placement