What Are the Different Types of Executive Temporary Employment?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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Executives can be hired into temporary positions across various industries. Although the way executive positions are filled tends to reflect the cultural business norms that prevail in each particular country, executive temporary employment can generally be categorized as either unplanned, planned or temporary-to-permanent. These different types of temporary employment for executives fill different human resources needs for hiring businesses.

Businesses use temporary staff to fill needs that are limited in scope. Typically, they don't need to invest the same level of employment resources into the temporary worker as it would for a permanent hire. Employment agencies typically handle executive temporary employment recruiting and placement under planned conditions.

The most sporadic type of executive temporary employment happens when an executive is suddenly relieved of the position and another executive is slotted into the title on an interim basis. An executive who takes over is not necessarily the person the board of directors would choose to fill the job permanently. Because the job needs to be staffed, the executive is asked to function in the position until it can be filled permanently. In this case, the executive is often a permanent staff member who is holding a temporary position.


Another type of executive temporary employment provides structured support on projects that require increased capacity on a limited basis. For example, a law firm with a class action case might hire temporary attorneys to process a document production. These attorneys might work for months on the single case, but, eventually, the case will conclude and the firm will not have the revenue to carry the increased number of staff on its payroll permanently. Firms work with employment agencies to bring in temporary executive-level staff with high-end skills to complete the project.

The other type of executive temporary employment situation is a periodic position vacancy due to health reasons. For example, a female executive may take maternity leave for six months or a male executive who is diagnosed with cancer may take a medical leave of absence. The company is required by law in many jurisdictions to keep the job open for the executive until he comes back. In this instance, the company can staff the position with a temporary executive who can handle the duties of the position with the knowledge that the position will end as soon as the permanent employee returns.

A final type of executive temporary employment happens when a company is wary of filling a position permanently and wants a candidate to demonstrate suitability before a permanent job offer is extended. This is the typical temporary-to-permanent job, which is often framed as a contingent job offer. Temporary agencies are very involved with recruiting and placing executives into these types of positions and are often paid a bonus if the temporary placement evolves into a permanent job.


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