Making money from temping, contracting and freelancing

Temp, contract and freelance jobs are on the rise. If you’ve ever wondered about joining the “gig economy” of short-term engagements read on.

At SEEK we’ve crunched the data and we’re seeing a growing number of job ads for these contract, temporary or freelance roles. The growth of gigs is one of the big employment trends of the 21st century. In fact more than 30% of New Zealand’s workforce is now a temp, contractor or freelancer, says Adam Shapley, Managing Director at Hays.

In fact more than 30% of New Zealand’s workforce is now a temp, contractor or freelancer, says Adam Shapley, Managing Director at Hays.

Shapley says employers have taken to the trend because it offers flexibility, cost savings, access to hard to find expertise, and enables them to on-board talent fast without the need to wait for sign-off.

Taking temporary assignments benefits workers as well. Many love the freedom and the other benefits such as:

  • Providing work quickly when they need it
  • Broadening their skills
  • Expanding their network
  • Earning a higher hourly rate
  • Getting a foot in the door at a desired employer
  • Adding the spice of variety to their working life.

Short term roles come in a variety of flavours. The main differences between them are:

  • Temp roles are used by organisations to fill mostly short-term gaps in their workforce. Roles might be a day/week/month here and there to cover for illness, holidays or maternity leave, or they might be for the duration of a project. Temping often suits people on working holiday visas or those returning to work after a gap. It’s also a great way to cover a gap in employment.
  • Contracting roles are similar to temping, but are often targeted at professionals. Contract roles may be for a fixed period of time or they could be ongoing. These roles are often well paid - especially for contractors with in-demand tech skills.
  • Freelance roles are a bit different to the other two. Usually they involve doing specific pieces of work for one or more clients (employers). Rather than being paid by the hour, freelance work is typically remunerated on output. Most freelance journalists, for example, are paid per article, not the time it takes them to write it. Typically they write for more than one publication.

There are pros and cons for all three and one may suit some people more than others. They include:

  • Source of income whilst job seeking. With temping in particular these roles provide a chance to gain experience working in a new sector and to stay open to opportunity.
  • Pathway to permanent employment. With both temping and contracting there is a chance that your short-term role will turn long term or even permanent. Some employers use temp and contract roles to test out the talent. If you’re good, the employer may offer you a full time role.
  • Grow your network. Temporary, contract and freelance roles offer the opportunity to add to your references and build professional networks that can be mined. Typically these roles give you the opportunity to shine in front of a greater number of employers and colleagues.
  • Increased flexibility. Flexibility is a benefit for freelance workers in particular. As a freelance you can choose your hours and work around other commitments or in the evenings or weekends. Temps and contractors can plan holidays and breaks between the end of one job and the start of the next.
  • Lack of stability. When your income is contract it may be unstable and you’ll need to source and retain clients. As well as budgeting to cover gaps between roles you’ll need to put aside holiday and sick pay, and to do your own book keeping. With freelancing you’ll need to invoice and manage multiple employers to ensure you get paid.

Finally, click on these links to find out what type of temp, contract, and freelance roles are available currently.