High-Paying Temp Jobs: Where They Are and How to Land One

For many, the term “temp job” reminds them of short stints of employment they had as a college student. Desperately trying not to go further into debt to pay for classes, books, food, and a roof over their heads, they were willing to temporarily fill in just about anywhere to bring home a paycheck. If you were lucky enough to have one of these jobs, you know the stereotype: menial work, low pay, and little to no recognition for your hard work. After all, you are just a temporary fixture in a thriving company.

However, employers and temporary employment agencies agree that temporary positions are a much more beneficial arrangement for employees and employers than that. Temporary jobs allow employers to fill short-term vacancies, respond to sudden growth, and expand their teams during a busy season. Those filling these vacancies have a unique opportunity to gain work experience, learn new skills, or try a new field of work.

With three years of runaway inflation, however, making ends meet on the entry-level pay that accompanies many temporary jobs can be challenging. Would it surprise you to learn that temporary employment can be high-paying and provide a more than adequate income for most households? Let’s look at several temporary job titles that fall into this category.

1. Registered Nurse

In the three years since the pandemic began, we have all become acquainted with the effects of nursing shortages. As many have moved on from the profession or decided to pursue other careers, skilled nurses have been in short supply and in high demand. These hometown heroes need time off, too. When they take a leave of absence or go on family leave, hospitals and doctor’s offices hire temporary nurses to take their place.

Nursing positions require specialized training, contributing to the high pay for temporary nurses. As a temp, you will be expected to have the proper medical training and licenses, be CPR certified, and be able to administer patient treatments and medications as required.

2. Software Engineer

Software engineering is a growing field in computer science, and the demand for skilled engineers is growing in the business world. Whether developing internal software for performing proprietary processes or troubleshooting backend software, these coding specialists ensure that computer systems and operations run smoothly. Proficiencies in software development, computer systems, and web development will help boost the earning potential of temporary software engineers.

3. Operations Manager

The more time it takes to complete a task, the more it costs a company to perform it. Operations managers ensure that organizational processes follow best practices and work efficiently. They assist organizations in attaining their goals and objectives through improving operational policies and procedures. Individuals who are a good fit for this position will have experience and a broad knowledge of business operations and practices. The more experienced the better, as temps often work with unfamiliar systems and with a variety of team members.

4. Editor

As the lead of an organization’s content team, an editor ensures the content published is top-quality and reflects the goals and objectives of the organization. Duties include proofreading copy for spelling and grammar mistakes, training writers in best writing techniques, and following best practices for audience engagement. Editors should have good research skills and verify the accuracy of each article before publication. Proving yourself useful, even on a temporary basis, can help build your skills and resume. Remember that companies do hire impressive temps to full-time positions.

5. Human Resources Specialist

HR departments have many responsibilities, including recruitment, onboarding, benefits enrollment, and payroll. During periods of swift company growth, they may need additional help fulfilling these duties. Specialists hired temporarily can take over tasks such as screening resumes, updating employee records, preparing compensation packages, and professional development. Strong people and communication skills help ensure the success of temp employees in these positions.

6. Accountant

Organizations hiring for even temporary accounting positions seek individuals with the proper credentials and experience. Analyzing, tracking, and informing on the financial status of a company or project accountants provide key information. Individuals aspiring to work in bookkeeping, auditing, or finance tracking should seek education in accounting or finance, as well as certifications. A strong resume and work history will bring higher value to the organization and result in a higher paycheck.

7. Computer Programmer

Long touted as a work-from-home position, computer programming is no longer alone in offering this perk. Individuals hoping to find temporary employment as a programmer should be fluent in several programming languages, including Python, Java, Javascript, C#, C++, and others. Because temporary employees will often work alongside other programmers, they should be skilled problem solvers and possess excellent people skills.

The Necessary Skills

The skills required for each temporary position will vary both from one position to the next and from one company to the next. However, some skills are universally desirable to employers.

  • Perpetual Learner – Employees who thrive on adding to their knowledge and skill set have the most to gain from temporary employment. Adding new skills and abilities with every new job will make you more marketable and worth the salary of a highly-compensated temp.
  • Problem Solver – With every new position will come unique challenges. Your ability to adapt what you have learned in the past to a new environment will make you an invaluable asset as you overcome hurdles without flinching.
  • Communicator – Teams who have worked together for many years develop a style and a framework for communication and interpersonal interaction. As you move from team to team, you must gather essential information from team members and report back. Communicating effectively with coworkers and managers requires good written and verbal communication skills.
  • Influencer – Regardless of how long you hold a position, your attitude and work ethic can impact your coworkers. Do you encourage and inspire them to achieve more or exactly the opposite? Your contagious enthusiasm can contribute to the team’s success and earn you a glowing recommendation.

Becoming a High-Earner

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a temporary employee is $41,665. While that figure is accurate for many positions, those who aspire to learn and achieve more can earn much more. There are many temporary positions available in health care, information technology, and finance, to name a few, that offer higher pay.

If education, experience, or skill proficiencies stand between you and a high-paying temporary job, a Salt Lake City staffing agency can help you determine the best way to close these knowledge and skill gaps and gain the work experience you need to get into a highly compensated temporary position.