Alongside media and marketing, IT roles have seen an average 50% increase in the number of temporary workers in recent years, driven by the rise in demand for freelance and temporary professionals as part of the gig economy.
Flexibility is one of the biggest drivers for someone entering the temporary sector. Not having a permanent contract enables workers to test whether this may be a full-time career they want to commit to. It can also provide greater control over working hours and additional hours for those looking to further increase their income.
For some, taking a temporary contract is considered a way to get a ‘foot in the door’. This opportunity to learn new skills and network may explain why the majority of those employed in temporary work are under the age of 30.
Whilst temporary work presents itself as an attractive option, a lack of statistics surrounding the emotional wellbeing of freelance employees suggests that the temporary market can be overlooked when it comes to mental health awareness.
Speaking regularly with our extensive team of freelancers, we are very aware that they are not exempt from the many stresses permanent employee’s experience.
Monetary concerns are frequently cited as a leading cause of stress and anxiety amongst temporary employees and this may manifest in a number of different ways:
Though there is an argument that suggests the urgency to fill many temp positions means they can often be very lucrative, for those fortunate enough to be paid a higher than average wage, other pressures may still exist.
Evidence suggests that those looking to get a mortgage or a small loan may face more difficulty in trying to get the appropriate paperwork filed with financial organisations.
Despite the flexibility associated with temporary employment, some individuals may feel as though they are putting their lives ‘on hold’ in favour of a career that is less predictable and potentially more stressful than a permanent contract. This is where we can all help.
How we can all help
As recruiters in both the permanent and temporary sectors, we understand that communication is key. Whether temporary candidates are placed with our clients, actively looking for positions, or simply dipping their toe in the water, we have very regular conversations to identify any concerns early on.
With 77% of workers reporting that the support of an effective manager helped their stress and mental wellbeing, having this brief chat about any issues they may be experiencing is highly valued and something we would encourage with any employee.
As they may work remotely or on an individual basis, we also recognise that temporary workers may sometimes experience a sense of isolation. At Pitch, our summer freelance event is our way of saying thank you to our team of freelancers but of course it may not be feasible for all organisations. What is clear is that whatever the size of the event, teamwork and social occasions can have a huge impact on boosting staff moral and reducing stress levels.
Finally, as with all members of staff (permanent or temporary), if you do notice changes in behaviour/ mood/ work output, or if a colleague appears anxious or withdrawn, we would refer you to the experts for guidance. The following guide from mind.org.uk offers some fantastic advice for every organisation.
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