News, Culture & Society

What Are the Main Types of Employees?

Over 157 million Americans are part of the workforce—but they’re not all the same type of worker!

Not everyone is looking for a 9-5 job and there are actually a lot more job types out there than you might have thought about. Do you want to work for yourself, only work part of the year, or even be your own boss?

If so, you need to learn about the various types of employees that exist in the workplace. Or, if you own a business, knowing about worker types will help you from an HR perspective.

To learn more, keep reading to find out the most common types of employees in the US.

Full-Time Employees

When we imagine a ‘traditional’ job, many think of full-time employees. This is someone who is hired by a business, signs a contract, and continues to work for the company until one party terminates the contract.

These workers receive a set salary, along with benefits. They’re also protected under employment law, giving them extra protection in case they’re not treated fairly by their employer.

The hours worked will vary, but will usually be around 40 hours per week.

Full-time employees generally have taxes withheld by their employer, so their take-home pay will have tax already paid. This makes it easier to file taxes at the end of the year.

Part-Time Employees

A part-timer is similar to the above, except they work fewer hours per week. Generally, any job where you work less than 35 hours per week is part-time.

However, some workers might only do one shift per week—it all depends on the business. Often, small business employees will work on a part-time basis, as smaller companies might have reduced the need for full-time staff.

A part-time employee is often paid an hourly rate, but they could receive a salary. They may or may not receive benefits.

Seasonal Workers

When managing employees, some businesses may find that they need additional staff at certain times of the year. For example, retail shops usually need extra help near Christmas, since more people are shopping and they need more employees.

Seasonal workers are also common in agriculture, during times when additional help is needed for harvesting or planting.

A seasonal job offer will generally be for a set period of time, so you know when you get hired when the contract will end. These types of jobs can be useful for anyone looking for some extra cash, but not wanting to work permanently.

Tax will generally be withheld from seasonal employees, although some companies might even pay seasonal workers in cash.

It’s usually easiest to find seasonal work during the summer or near Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Temporary Employees

A temporary worker is similar to a seasonal one, but they aren’t limited to certain times of the year. A temporary employee is someone hired by a company to work on a certain program or project, anywhere from a few days to a few years.

Some temporary employees might get job placements via an employment agency, while others will be hired directly by a company. Working on a temporary basis can bring variety and new challenges since you’ll jump from company to company instead of doing the same job each day.

Independent Contractors

Another popular employment type is being an independent contractor. If you’re self-employed, a freelancer, or part of the gig economy, then you’re usually considered an independent contractor.

These types of workers work for themselves, rather than being hired by a company. They may sell services, products, offer consulting, or work as a freelance writer or artist—there are plenty of ways.

Working as an independent contractor often means setting your own pay, schedule, and hours, but it can also provide less income stability. Self-employed workers are responsible for paying their own income tax.

If you’re hiring a worker, it’s essential that you know the difference between a full-time and a contract worker. For one, contractors will need to be paid via a 1099 form, while employees are paid via a W2.

These are IRS forms used when hiring a new employee to ensure the correct amount of tax is withheld.


Students or recent graduates might get hired for an internship or apprenticeship. Internships often aren’t paid, but provide valuable on-the-job work experience for those just starting out.

However, some internships do pay, as employers are becoming more aware that it’s hard for young people to work for free.

Apprenticeships are often done when someone is learning a trade, with the worker accepting a lower rate of pay in exchange for education and training on the job.

Many schools and universities offer work placements, with students sometimes able to receive course credits once completed.

Use This Guide to Understand All About the Types of Employees in the Workplace

Whether you’re looking for a job yourself or you’re a hiring manager, it’s important to know about the various types of employees out there. Because there are different laws and requirements for each job type, it’s actually illegal to hire someone and not give them the correct benefits or tax withholdings for that job type.

Once you get to understand each type, employee management will be much easier! Or, if you’re searching for work, you’re sure to find a job that offers you exactly what you’re looking for!