Not big on commitment? Try temping…
Whether they’re covering maternity leave or sabbaticals, or they’ve been hired to provide extra support during busy periods (from the Christmas rush and seasonal sales, to redevelopments and big projects), temp workers offer a flexible helping hand in a wide range of industries.
To help you decide which role is right for you, here are five of the best temp jobs that you could be doing right now:
What they do: Temp workers are particularly common in the admin, HR, and secretarial fields where they offer a wide range of clerical support. Their duties vary depending on the role, but could involve anything from typing correspondence and organising paperwork, through to greeting guests and scheduling meetings.
What you need: Excellent communication skills, alongside a high level of computer literacy and a methodical approach to working. You won’t usually need a degree, as employers will place precedence on your relevant skills and experience.
What you can earn: Salaries will vary depending on your level and area of work, but will usually range from £12,000 to around £30,000.
Perfect for: People who can make anything run smoothly.
Our advice: If you’re struggling to land a temp job in these fields, consider studying for a qualification. Industry-leading certifications like CompTIA or CIPD, along with any other courses that aim to quantify your computer and interpersonal skills, will speak volumes about your abilities – especially if you don’t have much office experience.
What they do: Drive anything from articulated Lorries and tankers, to transporters and trailer wagons, in order to transport and deliver goods between suppliers and customers. They’re also responsible for planning delivery schedules, completing paperwork, and other admin tasks.
What you need: Great driving ability and knowledge of road safety, along with excellent concentration skills. Whilst a lot of your time will be spent alone on the road, you’ll also interact with customers and suppliers – meaning a good attitude is key. A full driving license, a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), and HGV/LGV licenses specific to your vehicle are essential.
What you can earn: Around £18,000 as a starting salary, which could rise to £35,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who have a need for speed safe and careful driving.
Our advice: If you’re not sure where to start, carrying out an apprenticeship is a great way to work your way into this role – with most roles offering on-the-job training. Any previous experience, certificates, or licenses in driving large vehicles are also definite pluses.
What they do: Sell the products and services of their business, and provide excellent customer service. They could offer a broad range of support, as a Sales Assistant, or specialise in a certain area (e.g. merchandising, buying, or management). But no matter what they do, they’re absolutely essential to manage busy periods (see also: keep angry shoppers under control).
What you need: Confidence, approachability, patience, and an ability to communicate with all kinds of people. Knowledge of what you’re selling is additionally important in order to provide customers with the right advice. A natural talent for handling the ‘it isn’t scanning so it must be free’ joke may also be helpful.
What you can earn: This will vary depending on the role you do. Sales Assistants could earn up to £16,000, while Managers, Merchandisers, and Buyers could earn in excess of £40,000.
Perfect for: People who aren’t afraid of crowds.
Our advice: Retail employers will place precedence on your personality – meaning it can be the key to standing out. So focus on examples of your soft skills and essential attributes (e.g. politeness, friendliness, resilience) in your CV or cover letter, and drawing attention to any relevant experience (e.g. customer service work) that proves you’re a good fit.
What they do: Act as a temporary replacement for an absent Teacher, whether it’s at primary, secondary, or sixth form level. Alongside preparing lessons, educating pupils, marking work, and other teaching responsibilities – they must also adapt their methods for different schools, age ranges, and situations.
What you need: Supply Teachers will need the same skills and qualifications as full-time Teachers; so aside from having carried out Initial Teacher Training (ITT), you’ll need to be innovative, creative, and organised. Flexibility is also extremely important for supply teaching roles.
What you can earn: Supply Teachers are paid at an hourly or daily rate, which is calculated in line with the salary they’d get if they worked full-time. This usually equates to somewhere between £20,000 and £30,000 a year.
Perfect for: People who want to go back to school.
Our advice: Becoming a fully qualified Teacher is the first step to migrating into supply teaching. To gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you’ll need to carry out a year-long ITT programme – which could be school or university based. Those teaching at secondary level will also need a degree in their chosen subject. Gaining teaching experience (e.g. as a Teaching Assistant) may also help.
What they do: Pick, pack, and transport a wide range of goods, whether it’s for a large retailer, distribution company, or manufacturer. They may also be responsible for carrying out quality control checks, daily reports, and stock takes. Whilst temp work in this industry is available all year round, it’s particularly common during peak times (e.g. Christmas). Elf costume optional.
What you need: Good physical strength, along with a reliable (and speedy) work ethic. You’ll also need to adhere to health and safety regulations, communicate effectively, and work well in a team. You won’t need any specific qualifications to get started.
What you can earn: Temporary Warehouse Operatives are usually paid at an hourly rate, which equates to around £12,000 as a starting salary, and could rise to £20,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who are really good at Tetris.
Our advice: Employers in this industry are not only looking for candidates who can prove they’d be great at the job – they’re also looking for people who can be flexible; whether it’s with location, job role, or working hours. After all, temp work in this field is likely to involve carrying out a wide range of tasks (often during unsociable hours) with strict deadlines, so a can-do attitude is key.
Honourable mentions: Care Worker, Healthcare Assistant, IT Technician, Accountant, Chef, Nursery Nurse, Cleaner, Carpenter, Electrician.
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