Financial pressure, flexibility drive college students to work temp jobs, survey finds

Dive Brief:

  • Financial pressures and the need for flexibility are driving students to take on temporary jobs, temporary staffing platform Indeed Flex reported July 8.
  • Half of the 1,000 U.S. students aged 18-44 surveyed in June said they’re considering temp work because of rising living costs; 30% cited education costs.
  • The majority (74%) told Indeed Flex they prefer temp work because it offers flexibility, giving them the ability to work where, when and how often they want. More than 4 in 10 said they are drawn to retail work, resulting in retailers potentially experiencing a surge in applicants, the report noted.

Dive Insight:

College students working temp jobs while juggling studies may find it easier to transition to a post-grad job market that, according to a June report from Indeed Hiring Lab, seems to be shifting to more part-time opportunities.

Whether the trend toward more part-time positions is driven by a cooling labor market requiring fewer full-time jobs is difficult to discern, an Indeed Hiring Lab economist noted in the report.

But one possibility — that employers are offering more-flexible options to attract workers — may draw this year’s graduates, who have been adamant about work flexibility, a Monster 2024 State of the Graduate Report found.

Although entry-level hiring has been expected to remain steady through graduation season, according to a March report from business consulting firm Robert Half, college grads still expressed concern about the competitive job market, Monster reported.

However, graduates’ confidence could be bolstered by the nudge a Robert Half exec recently gave employers. Bringing in workers who are in the early stages of their career is a smart hiring strategy, the firm’s operational president stated. Recent grads and entry-level professionals can deliver fresh ideas and new skills and drive innovation, the exec said.

Employers may find a match in college grads who worked temp jobs when students, the Indeed Flex report indicated. More than a quarter of those who responded to the platform’s survey said they prefer to take temp jobs to experience new roles across different industries.

Another thing to keep in mind: Workplace culture, well-recognized as key to retaining permanent employees, is becoming a priority for contingent workers and just as important to ensuring they don’t jump shift before their assignment ends, research by Flextrack has suggested.

Company stability is also replacing pay as a primary factor for contingent workers in selecting gigs, Flextrack found.

For students, second to retail, these gigs include jobs in healthcare, followed by hospitality, call centers, facility maintenance, and industry, the Indeed Flex survey found.