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Workers Holding Multiple Temporary Roles
December 18, 2019
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​More than one in 10 (12%) workers in the UK have multiple jobs and consider temporary work as their main role, according to research from Reed

The research, carried out as part of Reed’s ‘Temporary isn’t Temporary’ campaign, surveyed 5,000 workers and looked at their experiences of temporary and multiple-career roles.

When asked about the positive benefits of temporary or short-term contracts, more than a third (37%) cited work/life balance as the key reason they have followed this career structure. 

Access to a variety of work was the next-favoured reason at 34%, while 28% cited that a flexible and varied approach to gaining work experience would help boost their CV. Twenty-two per cent said seeing their family was a major benefit of temporary working. 

However, the research also found a variety of reasons some people are being deterred from temporary work. More than half (53%) of workers said they prefer the security of a permanent role, and 46% said the benefits of a permanent role (such as pensions and sick pay) are important in their preference for longer-term roles. 

Despite income and financial security being of great concern, two-thirds (66%) of workers indicated that they were not worried about the disadvantages of non-permanent work when applying for mortgages or loans. And more than three-quarters (77%) said they weren’t concerned about having to work whenever possible. 

The research also highlighted discrepancies in the views held by different demographics. 

Across the UK, multiple temporary contract roles seem to be favoured by men, with 21% viewing the increased hourly rate as an advantage compared to 17% of women. 

Temporary work appears to be favoured by the next generation and those at the beginning of their careers with 17% of 25- to 34-year-olds considering temporary employment to be their main role. More than a fifth (21%) of 25- to 34-year-olds hold more than one temporary role and 11% hold more than four temporary roles at one time. 

Claire Harvey, managing director of Reed UK & Ireland, said the research reveals that financial concerns can dissuade people from wanting to take up temporary work. 

“Having surveyed workers across the UK we know they want the flexibility of temporary work but are held back by financial concerns,” she said.

“When this barrier is removed there is little stopping workers from chasing their flexible working dream. And the good news is that a market with a healthy amount of temporary work can benefit both employers and employees.” 

Harvey added that employers can benefit from making sure temporary workers are given high-quality and varied work. 

“If employers can deliver the variety and quality of work at the same time as keeping the important flexibility in a role that candidate’s desire then they will capture the best temporary workers,” she said. 

“When they may not be able to employ a highly-skilled specialist on a permanent basis a client can benefit from their wisdom through a short-term contract. 

“With the progression of technology in the workplace it’s clear that the traditional nine to five is disappearing and, as a result, temporary or contract working is likely to become more and more common.”