Why Do Young People Choose Temporary Work?

Depending on the nature of your business, you might be an employer who needs to rely on temporary workers at different times of the year because your product or service is in demand.

We discussed this in a previous article about employing seasonal workers and how you can make it work for you. In this article, we’ll look at temporary work and why some people do temporary work. 

As an employer, if you have an insight into why people, especially young people, do temporary work, you can use this to benefit both yourself and your temporary staff. 

Not all temporary staff are seasonal workers. Sometimes, you might get an unexpected busy spell due to increased demand for your products or services as a one off. But there are also other times when you can employ temporary staff. 

Perhaps you have employed some temporary staff during periods of uncertainty. Brexit and the pandemic have created more than enough uncertainty in all areas, not just just in employment!

For young people, it can be a good idea to have a system whereby you employ them on a temporary basis to give them some experience of the workplace and give them a taster of what it might be like to work in a field they are interested in. 

According to a study by Lancaster University, the number of temporary workers in the UK is on the rise and in some instances, this is not a good thing as lots of these workers are doing temporary work on an involuntary basis. 

The UK economy is expected to recover by mid 2022 and people need access to good quality, secure employment where they feel they can build a career and earn a steady income to be able to make plans.

For the purposes of this article, however, we will be looking at those young people who are actively seeking temporary employment and their reasons for doing so. 

If you know a person’s ‘why’ for approaching your company for temping jobs, you can give them a more meaningful experience with your company. This will benefit both your youıng recruit and your company. A win win situation.

Why Do Young People Choose Temporary Work?

So, what are young people looking for when they are applying for temporary work?


Young people who are students might choose temporary work because they need to be flexible with their time. Whilst some young people will choose to work at evenings and weekends, others might not want to – or might not be in a position to – make the commitment to a long term position.

Some students might be on a gap year, for example, and are doing temporary work so that they can save some money to go and do some travelling or volunteering. 

If you have the type of temporary work where there are lots of extra hours on offer, these are the types of young people who might really want to work for you so that they can earn as much travel money as possible in a short time. 

Choosing to do temping jobs gives students a bit more control over when they work. When you create opportunities for temporary work, this still gives young people the opportunity to both get experience of the workplace and earn some money in the process. 

Work Samples

Some young school leavers or students can take advantage of some temporary jobs that are on offer out there by using them as samples. Not all young people have a direct career path in mind and want to sample work in a few different sectors.

Doing temporary jobs can give them an idea of the types of roles that will suit their strengths and their personal traits. 

They might even find themselves enjoying, and excelling, in a line of work that they wouldn’t have considered previously and it is doing the temporary jobs that has given them that opportunity. 

If you know as an employer that this is why your young temp is doing work like this, you can show them more about how your workplace functions. If your temporary recruit is enjoying and excelling at their job, you coıuld go on to offer them a permanent job either as an Apprentice or a graduate recruit, for example.

Having young people doing temporary jobs in this way benefits you because you get the first opportunity to hook the best young talent. And if the role isn’t working out for them,it also saves you the time and expense of employing that person on a permanent basis and losing them to another role in the short term. 

Both parties can benefit from this situation.

Transferable Skills

We all know transferable skills are an invaluable tool to have when it comes to applying for jobs. Young people develop transferable skills and in other extra curricular activities they might be involved in.

Choosing to do temping work means they can also build up a bank of transferable skills that can be used in any future career they choose to go into.

Some of these temping jobs might be entry level roles you have on offer whilst others might require some  more specialised skills. Temporary entry level jobs can offer young people invaluable opportunities to gain experience of the workplace and develop skills necessary for the future.

A Breadth Of Experience

As well as building up a bank of transferable skills, young people take the option of doing temping jobs so they can get a breadth of experience both in doing different types of jobs and also experiencing different workplace atmospheres and workplace cultures. 

Even if they choose the same type of temp job each time, workplace culture and the physical set up will still be different.

Again, if you take on a yoıng temp and you thinkı they are suited to your workplace – and they feel settled at your workplace – you get the first chance to offer them a position is one becomes available.

Relevant Experience

Whilst some school leavers, students and graduates will choose to do temping jobs to give themselves a breadth of experience, others will choose temporary work that gives them relevant and specific experience.

Some career choices are highly competitive and there are those that require experience or specialist skills in certain areas. Temporary jobs can give young people this relevant experience so that they can add it to their CV when applying for future permanent roles in that particular field.

It gives young people the opportunity to demonstrate to employers that they have been proactive and that they are committed to succeeding in their future career. 

Making Contacts

This is another situation that can be a win win for both parties. When you have temp jobs on offer that you offer to young people, if you are thinking about offering Apprenticeships, graduate programmes or other full time positions in the future, employing temps can give you an idea of the young people you might want to offer positions to.

From the perspective of school leavers and graduates, they might be choosing temporary work so that they can make contacts in that particular field. This is especially the case if you are an employer in a sector where competition for jobs can be fierce.

Young people trying to get their faces known and trying to impress, can do temporary jobs network with those in that particular field in the hope of giving themselves a better chance of landing roles in the future.

If you employ young temporary workers who you know are looking to make contacts, you could introduce them to relevant people or invite them along to expos and networking events so that they can get a foothold on that first rung of the ladder.  

To Experience Life Away From Home

Whilst many university students are already living away from home some young people will choose temporary work to give them the opportunity to move away from home. These could be temporary live-in jobs and might be elsewhere in the UK or they might be temporary positions abroad.

Young people apply for temporary roles like these to gain some independence and to meet new people from different walks of life. 

To Replenish The Bank Account

Whilst there are lots of reasons why young people choose to do temporary jobs, let’s not forget that for all those reasons, they also want to be paid for their work. 

Students need cash to pout towards funding their studies. Some young people might be saving up to travel or to find a place to live. Others might be working for a few weeks to upgrade gadgets or to pay for an experience.

However young people choose to spend their earnings, they still gain the benefits listed above, as well as the financial benefits.

What You Can Do As An Employer?

Knowing why your young recruits have chosen to apply for your temporary roles means both employee and employer can benefit from the situation. 

Your temporary employees will be more productive if they feel like you have taken the time to find out why they are there, working for you. And your young recruits gain the experience and the financial rewards they need.