Temp Agencies in England and How They Work

Thoughts from Alanna…

I believe in temporary work. I had no experience with it in Canada but it’s a fantastic idea for those looking for work in a new country. Here’s how temp agencies in England worked for me:

I applied to jobs advertised by temp agencies online (like, Office Angels, Office Recruit, NAG, etc) and eventually got a call (I actually started applying about a week before flying over). Out of all the resumes submitted, the employer picked me to come in as a temp so the agency had me into their office to get registered.

Essentially, it was like a job interview.

He asked me what type of work I was interested in, my skills, my previous experience and why I would be a good pick. The agency works on behalf of the employer, so you won’t actually see them yet.

While I was there, I filled in all my information: bank account, address, previous experience, education and references that the agency would contact to confirm everything. Since I’m from Canada, I had to provide my passport and Biometrics Residence Permit to prove my ability to work in the country.

Because the role would be temporary, the agency needed my information on file to search for future jobs when this one runs out.

Once finished with the paperwork, the agency liaised with the employer and confirmed my start day, who I needed to report to and at what time. They also gave me a timesheet which I fill in each week and get signed by my employer. I then send it to the agency who make sure I get paid each week.

Working as a temp can be incredibly flexible if you’re focused on travelling.

Once your contact ends (it may only last a few weeks to a few months) you can tell your agency you don’t want additional work right away so you can travel, then re-start when you get back.

It also gives you variety if you’re interested in working in different environments every few weeks or months. My agency also filed all the paperwork needed for a UK police check (as well as one in Canada).

But it also really helps get your bank account going. When I moved to England, I only brought some cash to get started and transferred a bit more to my UK bank account for rent and bills. I really didn’t want to convert much more since the exchange rate is so poor for Canadians! The great thing about my temp agency is that I was getting paid every Friday for the previous week. Instead of waiting a full month to get my first pay cheque, I just had to wait two weeks to get started. Yes, it’s obviously smaller installments but it’s great when you have bills, groceries and other expenses pilling up!

Cons: it’s temporary. If you’re anxious like me, having tons of “first days” at different jobs sucks. It’s like starting all over again. It’s also for a set time, so you’ll be unemployed again when the contract finishes.

I was lucky that I was offered a temp ongoing position, meaning they’d need a temp worker and would continue to renew my contract until they didn’t need me anymore. So my original contract from January to March was renewed from March until July and then again until the end of August.

Getting a job is hard, let an agency do the tough bits for you. Good luck!