Business English Vocab: Temping ticks the boxes

Read the text about temporary work. Some phrases about temporary work are highlighted and explained below. Don’t forget to answer the quiz and leave comments about the discussion questions.

Temporary staffing is all the rage at the moment. Forget full-time 9 to 5 positions because they are long gone. Instead, we are seeing smaller staff sizes becoming the norm, with almost a half of US companies following this trend.

Industry statistics show that temporary employment is 10% higher than in 2009 with that figure expected to increase by this time next year. What seems to be an undesired effect of the economic crisis is now actually helping its recovery as companies save money and maximise work.

From a managerial perspective, taking on part-timers has its perks. For one thing, an employer can staff up extremely quickly and without all the red tape full-time employments create such as continual development and holiday leave. Instead, the staff are hired on a need by need basis and then just let go.

Increased unemployment has created a high quality of potential employees so a hiring company can get the crème de la crème of the workforce and at a budget rate. 10 years ago such a situation did not exist and companies had a harder time recruiting qualified and experienced staff. Now, times have changed and the work force is full of professionals who find themselves out of work because their company was downsized, went belly up or they took voluntary early retirement.

Temporary employment may not rake in the kind of money and perks a full-time position may provide but it ticks several boxes:

1) For inexperienced workers it is an invaluable way to build your CV and to try out different jobs.

2) Working  as a temporary worker via an agency means you are paid for every hour you work and you are not obliged to do any overtime. You can also say no to jobs you do not feel suitable for.

3) If you add up all the meetings and administrative tasks that go hand-in-hand with some full-time positions, you may actually be better off working part-time.

4) Contacts and networking is essential in business. Thus, having the opportunity to work in a number of places will boost your connections.

5) Working part-time allows you to get your foot in the door and if you play your cards right you could end up with a full-time or even permanent position later on.


Whatever your take on part-time employment, it is here to stay for the foreseeable future. As with all market changes those employees and companies who adapt will survive and even flourish.

[poll id=”21″]

Temporary work phrases

X is all the rage
Very fashionable
To be long gone
Finished and no more
X is becoming the norm
Increasingly common
Undesired effect
A result you did not want
Taking on
X has its perks
X has advantages
To staff up
To hire more staff
Red tape
Paperwork and regulations
On a need by need basis
Only when required
to be let go
employment stops at the end of a work/contract
The crème de la crème
The best of the best
The workforce
All the people who have a job


Made smaller
to go belly up
to become bankrupt and out of business
Early retirement
To stop working before the legal age (60+)
To rake in
To earn (money)
It ticks several boxes
It meets a good number of positive requirements
A high worth
To build your CV
To expand your resume
To try out sthg
To do and see if you like sthg
Not obliged to do sthg
Not required to do sthg
To go hand-in-hand with sthg
2 things that are normally connected
To be better off
To be in a better position
Boost your connections
Increase the number of people you know
To get your foot in the door
To take the first step into a potentially advantageous position
If you play your cards right
If you behave/say/do the right things
To end up with sthg
To eventually have something
Whatever your take on
No matter what your opinion is about sth
Here to stay
Foreseeable future
As far in the future as you can imagine
To flourish
To grow


Discussion questions

Is more temporary work better for employees?

What are the disadvantages of temporary work?

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