Temp or Permanent – Recruiting Skilled Migrants in New Zealand

Pros and cons of skilled migrant temp workers versus permanent employees which is better?

There is no single answer to this question – as always in recruitment, it depends on your business goals at the time of recruiting.

Temps are super useful where the business has short projects, workload fluctuates, or a particular section of a project requires a large but short term increase in resource.

We are presently noticing, however, that because of the abundance of permanent roles – many of which give a potential path to NZ Residence visas, the workers themselves are choosing not to take up temp roles (or are migrating to New Zealand and changing employers after working as temps for a period).

This is absolutely standard temporary worker behaviour – and is completely understandable for Filipinos, who thrive in the NZ team-focused culture. Temp workers often get frustrated by not having a long term team that they feel they belong to – and Filipinos even more so, given the separation from family.

Positives in employing a temporary worker

  • Flexibility- you can have them for as long as you need with little notice required when terminating their role with your company.
  • You can test them out without the risk of employing them permanently, much like taking a car for a test drive.
  • No employee benefit costs, sick or annual leave are required to be paid to each individual temp worker.

Negatives in employing a temporary worker

  • Relatively much more expensive per paid hour.
  • Relatively less employee engagement.
  • Relatively much higher investment in training
  • Increased risk of safety issues
  • Relatively higher employee turnover
  • Mixing temp workers with permanent workers can result in team morale issues.
  • Reduced quality of teamwork & compromised team dynamics.

Positives in employing a permanent worker

  • Greater job and financial security tends to enhance performance and commitment to the job.
  • Greater employee motivation to improve performance in pursuit of a higher level of employment in future.
  • Long term friendships and bonds are formed between fellow employees – increasing the motivation to remain with an existing employer.

Negatives in employing a permanent worker

  • Additional costs are incurred in the area of benefits, training, resources & equipment.
  • Greater reliance on permanent employees – a greater void is created if they leave the business.
  • Recruitment process is more costly and time heavy.
  • Risk of an expensive ‘bad hire’.

We advocate permanent over temporary where the workload is stable and the employer aspires to increase the business in future, as the investment in finding the right person, giving employees the right training & development is the best possible way to grow a better future business.

We also are mindful that costs of temp workers are higher to the employer, while the net take-home pay may be less for the employee – an undesirable equation for both sides in terms of a long term future relationship on a temporary worker basis.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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