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Interim vs Permanent - What's best for you?

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There are a great number of opportunities for professionals seeking new challenges and career growth.

Two common paths in this field are interim (temporary) and permanent roles. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, making it essential to understand the differences to make an informed decision. 

In this blog, we will outline the characteristics of interim and permanent jobs, compare their pros and cons, and provide practical advice on selecting the best career path.

Interim Jobs

Interim jobs are temporary positions, typically lasting between three to twelve months. These roles often arise due to an organisation's need for additional support during peak periods, staff absences, or specific projects requiring specialised expertise. Interim professionals may work as independent contractors or through recruitment agencies and umbrella companies.

Permanent Jobs

Permanent jobs are full-time positions with no predetermined end date. Professionals in these roles enjoy ongoing employment and are typically entitled to various benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Permanent employees usually have a more extensive range of responsibilities compared to their interim counterparts and are expected to contribute to the long-term success of the organisation.

Comparing Interim and Permanent Roles:

  • Hiring Speed

Interim jobs generally have a faster hiring process as organisations require immediate assistance. As a result, professionals seeking new opportunities can quickly secure interim positions, whereas the recruitment process for permanent roles tends to be more extensive and time-consuming.

  • Diversity of Work

Interim professionals enjoy the opportunity to work across various industries, projects, and companies, providing a diverse range of experiences and skill development. Permanent employees, on the other hand, may find themselves limited to a specific area or company, which could potentially impact their career growth.

  • Job Security

Permanent jobs offer greater job security than interim roles, as they provide ongoing employment without a predetermined end date. This stability is a significant advantage for professionals seeking long-term financial security and peace of mind. Conversely, interim jobs may entail periodic breaks in employment, requiring professionals to continually search for new opportunities.

  • Salary

Interim professionals often command higher hourly rates compared to their permanent counterparts, as they are hired for their specialised expertise and the temporary nature of their roles. However, permanent employees typically receive additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which can compensate for the lower salary.

  • Career Growth

Both interim and permanent roles offer opportunities for career growth. Interim professionals can rapidly expand their skills and knowledge by working on various projects, while permanent employees can climb the corporate ladder within a single organisation. Ultimately, the best path for career growth will depend on an individual's goals and preferences.

  • Autonomy

Interim professionals often enjoy greater autonomy in their roles, as they are hired for their expertise and are expected to deliver results with minimal supervision. Permanent employees, however, may experience more oversight and adherence to company policies and procedures, potentially limiting their decision-making authority.

  • Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance can vary significantly between interim and permanent roles. Interim professionals may experience periods of intense work followed by downtime, allowing for a flexible schedule. On the other hand, permanent employees may have more predictable hours but could face challenges in maintaining work-life balance due to ongoing job demands.

Choosing the Best Job Path

When deciding whether to pursue an interim or permanent role, consider the following:

  1. Career Goals: Determine your long-term objectives and evaluate which path aligns best with those goals.
  2. Job Security: Consider your circumstances and financial commitments, as this may influence your preference for job stability.
  3. Skill Development: Assess the opportunities for skill development and industry exposure in both interim and permanent roles.
  4. Work-Life Balance: Reflect on your preferred work style and the importance of work-life balance in your situation.

The bottom line

Both interim and permanent jobs offer unique advantages and challenges. By carefully considering the factors outlined in this article, you can make an informed decision about the best path for your career.

Download our 2023 salary guide to find out how much to expect to earn in whichever position you're seeking.

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