Temporary work or temporary employment (also called oddjobs) refers to an employment situation where the working arrangement is limited to a certain period of time based on the needs of the employing organization. Temporary employees are sometimes called "contractual", "seasonal", "interim", "casual staff", "outsourcing", "freelance"; or the word may be shortened to "temps". In some instances, temporary, highly skilled professionals (particularly in the white-collar worker fields, such as law, engineering, and accounting) refer to themselves as consultants.

Temporary work is different from Secondment, which is the assignment of a member of one organisation to another organisation for a temporary period, and where the employee typically retains their salary and other employment rights from their primary organisation but they work closely within the other organisation to provide training and the sharing of experience.

Temporary workers may work full-time or part-time depending on the individual situation. In some instances, temporary workers receive benefits (such as health insurance), but usually benefits are only given to permanent employees as a cost-cutting measure by the employer to save money. Not all temporary employees find jobs through a temporary employment agency. With the rise of the Internet and gig economy (a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs), many workers are now finding short-term jobs through freelance marketplaces: a situation that brings into being a global market for work.[1]

A temporary work agency, temp agency or temporary staffing firm finds and retains workers. Other companies, in need of short-term workers, contract with the temporary work agency to send temporary workers, or temps, on assignments to work at the other companies. Temporary employees are also used in work that has a cyclical nature, requiring frequent adjustments to staffing levels.


What You Will Be Doing

Temporary agencies used to specialized only in clerical types. But since the era of corporate downsizing, there has been an increase in professionals entering the “temp-to-perm” field, from marketing communications professionals to product designers and even attorneys. It’s a $33-billion industry, mainly because the large companies that employed thousands a few years ago are now using help only as they need it or are seeking to try out candidates for a few months until they’re sure they want to hire them permanently. After all, from their point of view, why pay the huge benefits packages and salaries for work that can be done, even if only temporarily, on a project-by-project basis? From your standpoint, this philosophy makes perfect sense; you’re making your money on the fact that both workers and corporations are seeking less permanent commitment. Workers are beginning to see the positive side of nonpermanent employment; they can freelance, launch businesses of their own, and so on. And the companies see the obvious benefit of saving money where possible. It’s a win-win . . . all you have to do is match the right temp to the right assignment, and make sure that all of your employees are trained and able to work on short notice. You’ll do an extensive background check and insure that each temporary employee has sufficient credentials and/or experience to do a fine job. Then you’ll sit back and reel in the money, particularly if you choose to specialize in a hot area such as nursing or engineering.  

Qualifications Needed 


What You Can Earn


What You Can Charge


Startup Cost


What You Need to Succeed


Marketing Advice


Other Services You Can Offer


Equipment Needed


Staff Needed


Where to Begin






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