Ireland: Are job seekers less attracted to temp roles?

Job seekers

Temping is a form of employment undertaken by many demographics, for many reasons. It may be something that students embark on for a little extra money, something that young graduates use to gain experience, a good way back into the workplace for women who have just had a child, or even a lifestyle choice made by someone who becomes a lifelong temp. There are a lot of positives to temp work. It can provide flexibility of, and control over, employment. It also allows a person to move around a lot, gaining a breadth of experience and skills, boosting their CV, gaining exposure and making contacts.

However, there are also some downsides to temp work which can put off a lot of job seekers from travelling down this employment route. For example, there is a lack of long term employment certainty, and temp workers do not have regular colleagues which sometimes can cause feelings of isolation and low morale. These negatives can cause work related stress and anxiety.

Recently, there has been a feeling amongst some recruiters that Irish job seekers are particularly wary about taking on temporary work. Whilst there is little research into why this may be the case, it is an important phenomenon to delve further into.

Research from Robert Walters indicates that in Ireland, things are looking up post financial crash. Job advertisements are increasing, business and job seeker confidence in most sectors is strong, and throughout 2015 the job market was very active. Better salaries are on offer, as are more permanent roles (which could be the first reason for an aversion to temp work). The job market is expected to continue to grow throughout the rest of 2016, and candidates are gaining more control over their career paths as during 2016 most are likely to be receiving multiple job offers. This paints a picture of an increasingly positive, candidate driven, job market. So why might these candidates not want to consider temp roles?

One reason may be that they are looking for more financial stability after the Irish economic crisis. Unemployment rates started to rise in Ireland from around 2002, and increased dramatically in Ireland from 2008. In 2010 the government negotiated a bail out deal with the EU and IMF and under this financial assistance programme growth has returned. The last decade has been a time of great stress and strain on Ireland’s economy as a whole, but also on the individuals who have had to live and work through the crisis. Employment choices are always made contextually, so it would make sense that some job seekers may shy away from temp work because they desire greater personal economic stability from a permanent role after years of their country being economically unstable.

Another reason could lie with the perceptions that Irish job seekers hold about temp work. A 2005 survey by the Economic and Social Research Institute discovered that, in Ireland, employees with temporary contracts were less satisfied with their jobs than those on permanent contracts. Temporary workers were given less job autonomy and less discretion than their permanent counterparts, felt less informed by management, and also received less employer sponsored training. This could suggest why workers, who had already experienced these negativities whilst working as a temp, would then be wary of becoming one again whilst they are looking for a job, or why permanent workers who had seen this occurring with temp workers in their office, would then not consider temp work as a viable option for themselves.

At the moment it is impossible to generalise, or locate a concrete answer to why Irish job seekers may not like temp work. However, it is an interesting phenomenon that many recruiters are experiencing, and something which needs to be tackled by making temp work more attractive. This could be done by highlighting the positives of this form of employment to job seekers and putting concerns to rest over instability and alienation from the permanent workforce. Further research into the area could uncover some fascinating insights into the current Irish job market, and help recruiters to make temp work more appealing.