Locum - Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages

Locums provide a ready means for organizations to fill positions that are either only temporarily empty (during sickness, leave or for other reasons) or for which no long-term funding is available. Locuming also allows a professional to try (and get experienced in) a wide range of work environments or specialisation fields which a permanent employee may not encounter.

However, the locum situation also has a number of disadvantages – the transient nature means extra stress and work for the locums whenever they have to fit into a new position, and for the hiring organisation, this generally means that the required flexibility (and often, the lack of a guaranteed income) has to be rewarded with high salaries. These may in the long term create higher costs for the hiring organisation than adding more full-time positions (especially in highly-skilled, accredited professions, and unlike the situation in some professions where cheap temporary labour or significant use of interns actually undercuts wages and reduces total staff costs).

Also, and especially true in professions where knowing all procedures and past case histories is important (such as for doctors working on patients, who may dislike not being treated by their own doctor, or by constantly shifting doctors), locums may provide lesser-quality work (or be seen as posing such a risk, fairly or not). Further, locums often experience resentment from permanent staff, for example because they are paid more, or because they are considered to shoulder less responsibility.

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