What We Think

Temporary vs Contract vs Permanent

by Peri Hann


When you’re browsing online for jobs, you’ll probably see the words “temp”, “casual” and “contract” quite frequently. The right option for you depends on what you’re looking for in your next position in terms of flexibility, longevity and freedom, and it’s important to understand the difference between the three when choosing your next role.


Temporary or Casual Work

Temporary positions can last anywhere from one day to six months plus. They are a fantastic way to get specific industry experience or build transferrable skills. Perhaps you’ve moved to a new city and you want to make sure you don’t have any gaps on your resume while you’re looking for your next permanent role. You may even consider temping full time – it can be a rewarding career choice with plenty of variety and the ability to choose when and where you work. 

Temporary roles are also a great option for anyone on a Working Holiday Visa, as it allows you to work for the same employer for six months. Employers advertise these roles due to extra work in the business or as a way to meet their resourcing needs while they wait for additional headcount approval. Sometimes these temporary positions are even made permanent if you work hard and your employer is given the approval!

Pros to being a temporary employee:

  • You get paid overtime – You are usually paid an hourly rate and any extra work you put in, you get paid for.
  • A speedier hiring process – You can normally have a “working“ interview and potentially start work the next day.
  • Cover any resume gaps – If you recently finished your last position and want to make sure you have consistency in your resume, this is a great way to show you are motivated and committed.
  • Opportunity for permanency – A lot of the time, these roles end up becoming permanent. Starting as a temp gives you the opportunity to get a foot in the door and prove to the employer that you are valuable!
  • Improve your resume – A temporary role may allow you to add skills to your resume. This is a great option if you’re looking to change specialisations, transition to a different industry or learn a new system.

Cons of being a temporary employee:

  • Stability – Temporary positions are by definition, “temporary”. These are usually short term, and the longevity of the role can’t usually be guaranteed.
  • You will have fewer benefits than permanent employees, including not being eligible for paid sick leave, and you won’t accrue annual leave.


Contract Roles

Contract roles are more defined and fixed in their terms and length than temp roles. Contractors on a “fixed term contract” are usually paid directly through the employer on a pro-rata basis. Common contract lengths are usually six, nine or 12 months but they can sometimes go up to 24 months or be as short as three months. Contract roles are another great option for someone wanting to keep their resume gap-free as well as a foot in the door for a role that may become permanent. They also offer plenty of flexibility, help you build your skills and allow you to experience different technologies, projects and work environments.

Pros of being a contractor:

  • Perks – Contractors usually receive the same entitlements as permanent employees, and you’ll accrue both annual and sick leave.
  • Job security – You’ll know the duration of your contract, and in addition to this, your employer must give you notice if they are to end employment.
  • Be your own boss – A lot of the time, contractors are employed to work on specific projects, so you are able to pick and choose the right role for you! Finishing a project is a great accomplishment and would be a positive addition to add to your resume.
  • Networking opportunities – Contracting will introduce you to many different people; this is a fantastic way to find new work. Additionally, referrals can help you get your foot in the door to a business.

Cons of being a contractor:

  • Less job security – Obviously, a contract position has less job security than a permanent position, and you will likely need to use your spare time towards the end of your contract to look for another role.
  • Usually, you won’t get paid overtime – This is the same as a permanent employer and you’ll be paid a pro-rata salary, so you won’t earn more for any additional overtime.


Permanent Positions

A permanent employee is as described. You are a full-time (or part-time) employee of a business with no end date, and you accrue leave from Day One. You are usually paid a monthly or fortnightly salary directly from the company.

Pros of being a permanent employee:

  • Job security – You’ll know when your next pay cycle is and you don’t have to keep marketing yourself.
  • Less financial risk – You have a guaranteed salary, making it easier for you to manage your finances.
  • Leave – You are usually given paid time off for public holidays, annual and sick leave
  • Professional development – As a permanent employee, you may have more opportunities to advance your career or even complete secondments within the business.
  • Extra benefits – You are entitled to long service leave and redundancy pay.
  • Long-term potential – You may have annual salary reviews, with the potential to receive pay increases.

Cons of being a permanent employee:

  • Less variety – If you enjoy working on different projects and like being constantly challenged, then being given a limited scope of work may prove difficult for you.
  • Limited holidays – You’ll have a limited amount of annual leave per year.
  • Reduced flexibility – Less freedom to decide what work or projects you want to be involved in.
  • Notice period – You’ll usually need to give at least four weeks’ notice if you were to move on from the business.


At Talent Web, we have roles across the permanent, contract and temporary space and would love to find you your next role! Please get in touch with one of our consultants for more information.