Thursday August 20, 2009
This article appeared in The Mail on Sunday 16 August 2009
As the unemployment figure continues to climb, competition for jobs is fiercer than ever and many people have been forced to take temporary work to make ends meet. But for some, temping can lead to bigger and better things.
When Simon Wade took a temporary job as a barista, making coffee for contract catering firm Lexington Catering, he did not think that five years later he would still be there, now as the deputy group manager.
Simon, 27, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, says: 'At the time I had no real career ambitions. The only real plan I had was to earn enough cash to go travelling, so I took the first job that came along.'
Two months in, he realised how much he was enjoying the work and the rapport he had with the public, while the company was seeing his potential.
'I have an outgoing nature and was genuinely enthusiastic about my work and I think that stood out,' he says. 'After six months I was made a supervisor, then a site manager and then to my current position.
'I never thought my original job would lead to this, but my advice to anyone in a similar position is to consider all your options, apply yourself and show willing. You may never know what may come of temporary work.'
With large-scale recruitment freezes still in place, many employers are having to promote from within. The most enlightened are including their part-time and temporary staff in the appraisal process and finding out what their aspirations are, says Jane Sunley, managing director of management firm Talent Toolbox. 'Many of them will only be there for the short term, but with jobs at a premium and redundancies a reality, there could be some high-calibre candidates among the peripheral workforce who employers would want to retain,' she says.
The challenge for the temp is to stand out. Maria Yapp, chief executive of business psychology firm Xancam, says the most promising candidates are those with an appetite for learning who relate well to senior people and customers and who motivate others.
'They usually have a very good understanding of the business and are willing to try new things and learn other jobs,' she says.