The Differences Between Permanent, Temp and Contract Jobs

The Differences Between Permanent, Temp and Contract Jobs

There are a number of job types, which vary according to the profession, required skill set and industry. The three most popular categories of jobs are; permanent, temporary and contract work, and each boast a range of advantages, and share some downfalls. Understanding the difference between these types of categories is essential when applying for jobs, as you may find yourself in an interview for a 3-month contract job, when in fact you wish for a full time and permanent career.


A permanent position is one that, once offered to a candidate, will be a long-term role and will only end where the employee wishes to leave. Graduates and professionals of all management levels have always favored permanent positions, as they provide job security, career progression and a regular income for the employee. Many people are adverse to change and prefer to develop their skills and advance in their careers within the same company.

Other advantages of being a ‘permanent’ employee are the benefit schemes offer by the employer. Often times, contract of temporary employees are not subject to the same benefits as permanent staff, such as; health care, pension scheme, paid vacations, sick leave, and maternity leave. Two notable disadvantages of permanent work is monotony and restrictive access to networking within the industry.


This form of employment refers to an employee being hired on a short term or ‘temporary’ basis, whereby they are expected to leave within a certain time frame. Depending on the country and recruitment industry, temporary workers are also known as contract workers, freelancers, interims and seasonal staff. Unlike permanent work, temporary workers can be employed on a part time or full time basis. One of the main benefits of this form of work is flexible hours – some employees will only be required to 1-2 days per week, and only for a specific period each day; enabling them to maintain their other commitments such as university or childcare arrangements.

One of the main drawbacks of temporary employment however is the high turnover rate – just because you temped for a company last month will not necessary guarantee you the next position available with them. However, the pay rates are generally good and it enables individuals to expand their work experience vastly.


Contract work refers to a position that is offered to a specialist for the completion of a particular project or task. This means that contract work is not always defined by a period of time, but rather by the successful achievement of the specified objectives.  Usually, contractors are paid a fixed rate of pay or a lump sum, to carry out a task for a company. On completion of the task, the contract worker will leave the company. This type of position is popular among IT professionals, civil engineers and architects, who are normally enlisted for their specialist skills and qualifications for complex tasks and projects.

There are many advantages to this type of employment and with the current instability of the employment markets; contract positions have become even more popular. Some of the most noted benefits of contract work include; excellent pay rates, networking opportunities, flexibility – ability to choose your own jobs and be your own boss, consistently developing skills and experience, opportunities for travel. Among the many benefits is the drawback of job security – you may find that one month you have no work and therefore no income to cover your living expenses.