Temps or Permanent recruitment? Which to choose?

So you have made the decision to hire a secretarial or administration team member – congratulations! As a small business owner this is your first step in reclaiming some of that elusive work/life balance, getting back on top of the paperwork and giving your clients the service they deserve. So now the question remains, do you go for a ‘temp’ or for a permanent placement?

Let’s look at the benefits of each.

Temp staff

Temporary staff or ‘temps’ come in a variety of forms. There are those temps who are literally brought into a business at short notice to cover another staff member who may be off sick, or on holiday. The temping agency you hire through will have a pool of skilled workers ready for such assignments that they can call on to send to your business during such times.

There is another side to temping though and that is the ‘long-term temps.’ These temps may work for your business for an extended period of time; they may be covering excessive workloads, maternity leave or peak seasons. Some companies end up with ’temps’ for years in their business, as they become such a valuable asset.

As an employer you literally just pay a flat rate for the hours worked each week. There are no additional commitments or legal obligations for such things as tax, superannuation or workers compensation. You do not need to worry about additional payroll of any end of year Group Certificates.


  • You can scale your team as required. If you have a busy period, you can get additional help.
  • You can enjoy all of the benefits of a permanent employee without the additional taxes, superannuation contributions, insurances etc.
  • If the workload drops again and you no longer need the extra help, you can cease the contract.


  • Temps are employed by their temping agencies. Just as you can cease their contract at any time, they too are free to take on other assignments.
  • Even if they have worked for you for years (in some cases) they are still a ’temp’ and they may never feel as though they are truly part of your team.
  • The flat hourly rate that you pay for long term temps will be higher than the hourly rate you would pay for someone being an employee (as the requirement for tax, superannuation, insurance and the such like falls to the temping agency that has hired the staff member).

Permanent recruitment 

The alternative to temps is permanent recruitment and whether full-time or permanent part-time, the name says it all. Recruitment of a staff member who is a fully integrated member of your team.

Just like a temp is an ideal solution to an short-term busy period or annual leave cover, a permanent staff member is often the answer if you know that the workload will be consistent and the business has reached the point where it really needs a dedicated person to perform a certain role.



  • Flexible working arrangements can still be negotiated with permanent team members. Perhaps you only need someone to cover school hours, or only want someone two days per week to cover the administration requirements. This is all still possible with permanent part-time agreements.
  • By hiring a staff member you are making a clear statement that they are an integral part of your business and a key team player.


  • Employment comes with all sorts of responsibilities and you must know your legal position with regards to disciplinary procedures, unfair dismissal etc.
  • Although the respective hourly rate for a permanent staff member is likely to be lower than that you would pay for a ‘temp’ this also needs to be weighed up with the additional costs of superannuation, tax obligations and workers compensation. As a general rule of thumb, expect to pay the same rate again in contributions as you do for the hourly rate of the employee.

So, each have their positives and also their downsides. Really it all comes down to the requirements of your business and the foreseeable workload moving on into the future.

If you need some help with knowing the right direction for your business and whether you should choose a temp or go for permanent recruitment, call Kathleen at The Office Connection on 1300 394 505.