|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Temp jobs can make you good money
Urmila Rao, Outlook Money | November 06, 2006
Are you looking for a job that offers you learning opportunities in various areas, flexi-scheduling and a decent pay packet? The answer to this, even a decade ago, would have been, "Get real." But now, with temporary employment (temping) becoming a big human resources phenomenon in India, jobs with all these attributes are well within the realm of reality.
A temporary staffing solution provider puts the size of temporary staffing in India at about Rs 1,360 crore (Rs 13.60 billion). He adds that there are over 2.5 lakh (250,000) temp workers in India and that 120 lakh (12 million) temp jobs are expected to come up in the next five years.
Temping has many advantages: it helps you develop new skills, gives you broader experience and provides you the opportunity to work with various levels of management.
Right from a college student to a 50-year-old professional can find a temp job in the corporate world. Companies look for temps to fill any short-term gap arising due to the absence of an employee or unplanned termination.
Manjit Kaur, 32, temped as a secretary in an embassy till the permanent employee she was filling in for came back from her three-month-long maternity leave. She feels this exposure helped her secure her present permanent job in another embassy.
Organisations mostly hire workforce on lease for non-core activities like frontline sales, HR, administration and accounts. Companies also employ manpower on lease if they are scouting for people with special skill sets.
Manoj Dewani, senior manager, HR, of Agilent Technologies, a leading provider of instrumentation and life science solutions, among other things, says, "Temping helps when special projects have to be done or during peak activity periods when the high work load forces us to hire additional workforce."
Areas of temping
Temping opportunities exist across all industries and almost all job functions. "The demand is mainly in human capital-intensive sectors like financial services, telecom, insurance, banking, IT/ITES, FMCG, retail and manufacturing," says Achal Khanna, country manager, Kelly Services India, a temp staffing solutions provider.
Temping is more pronounced at the entry level than at higher positions. If you are a fresher, temping is the perfect launch pad to get introduced to the sector you are interested in. You are free to choose a job function and, as you gain experience, you can move across functions and sectors.
Temping has already caught on in the mid-management levels and vacancies have started opening in senior positions as well.
Fruits of temping
Temp jobs help you network and don a variety of hats. They can be enticing enough to even draw people with permanent jobs. Take the case of Sunita Bhardwaj, 32, who quit her permanent job in the administration department of a company to work as a sales coordinator in a US-based Fortune 500 firm. A year and a half later, she got a chance to make yet another job function transition when she became executive assistant to the CFO.
"It doesn't matter that I am a temp. I am working for a Fortune 500 company and am exposed to a world-class work culture. I don't feel victimised either on salary or treatment. Besides, I am acquiring new skills," says Bhardwaj.
Temp salaries are decent enough. Though temp jobs are not yet giving permanent jobs a run for their money, at times, temps can earn more than permanent employees. Jaychandran Pillai of Alps Management, a hiring firm, points out that in the case of specific time-bound projects, temps get about 20 per cent higher salary than regular employees. The starting salary of a fresher in a sales function in a large financial or insurance firm in a metro is Rs 9,000-10,000 per month.
An HR executive can get a starting salary of Rs 7,000. While the average salary in the lower management rung is around Rs 7,500 per month, for middle levels, it is Rs 35,000 and at senior levels, it can go up to Rs 4.5 (Rs 450,000) lakh per month. Bhardwaj is quite satisfied with her salary of Rs 3 lakh (Rs 300,000) per annum.
Delhi-based Babita Ratra, 28, worked in a large national firm for three years as a permanent employee before joining a public-private partnership firm as a temp. She is earning Rs 2.16 lakh (Rs 216,000) per annum now, double of what she used to draw in her permanent job.
Says Ashok Reddy, MD, TeamLease Staffing Solutions, "The average salary of our associates is around Rs 9,000 per month. The average growth rate in compensation has been about 15 per cent." The remuneration depends on experience, qualification, the job function, sector and the city where the opening is (See table below).
The gap between the pay packages of leased and permanent employees could be as wide as 40 per cent. Omprakash, 30, who works as a systems engineer with a top Indian IT firm, says that his salary shot up by over 40 per cent when he was absorbed in the company after working as a temp for three years.
Temp to perm
This transition is another reason why temping is so popular globally. It is used as a stepping-stone to permanent employment. Organisations often absorb leased employees when vacancies arise. Staffing companies differ on the percentage of temps who become perm: the figure ranges from 15 to 40 per cent.
Despite its advantages, companies are reticent in talking about temping. "That's because of stringent, unclear and non-flexible labour laws," says Pillai. Some companies feel they would lose face and be stigmatised if they are perceived as temping firms. Some companies go to the extent of signing non-disclosure agreements with their recruiting agency.
Unlike the West, temping is still not a lifestyle choice in the Indian job market. However, that is certainly changing. So, go ahead and temp, it could be fulfiling and fun.