As Project Head with software development company Saltmine LLC - now called Divensi - based at its Washington office, Munish Dhiman was putting in 12-hour workdays. For one particular project for a pharma firm, Dhiman's team had to complete work that would normally have taken five months in a single month. While on the project, Dhiman managed with just four hours of sleep a day. "It was a great company, but I wanted something different. Hence the decision to shift to temporary work," he says.
Today, Dhiman, 28, is a freelancer doing temporary projects with software giant Microsoft, Amazing Internships, an internships facilitator, and Multiverse, a global services company. He earns four times as much as he was doing at his permanent job, and also feels he is getting the recognition he deserves.
Traditionally, professionals have viewed freelancing or working parttime with apprehension. Many see it as opting out of the corporate rat race. They also fear the absence of job security. Temps are the first to be axed when a company faces tough times. A recent global survey by international HR service provider Ma Foi Randstad found 46 per cent of respondents saying working part-time was not a sound career move, Yet there are a growing number of professionals like Dhiman, who, for different reasons, have preferred this option. E. Balaji, Managing Director and CEO of Ma Foi, believes temporary work is gaining momentum in India. Indeed, the Ma Foi survey estimates that around 27 per cent of the Indian workforce is employed on a temporary basis, against the global average of 15 per cent.
Some experts even maintain part-time work helps people recharge their batteries. "With permanent jobs, sometimes, envy and boredom creep in. Part-time work helps improve the quality of one's thinking," says Ronesh Puri, Managing Director of headhunting firm Executive Access. "It can be an asset in the long term as it provides variety."
Unlike Dhiman, many taking up temporary jobs also see their monthly incomes fall. While Puri believes those making the switch should be mentally prepared for it in the short term, Vinay Grover, Founder and CEO of executive search firm Symbiosis Management Consultants, says that good negotiation skills can enable temps to avoid salary cuts.
Sectors such as retail, hospitality, education, market research, IT, insurance and banking are all opening their doors to temporary workers.