Difference Wiki

Deputation vs. Secondment: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 1, 2023
Deputation involves temporarily assigning a person to a different position within the same organization, while secondment refers to temporarily transferring an employee to a different organization.

Key Differences

Deputation typically occurs within the same organization, moving an employee to a different role or department temporarily. This can be for various reasons, including filling a temporary vacancy or for project work. Secondment, however, involves temporarily transferring an employee to a different organization, often for mutual benefit, skills exchange, or partnership working.
During deputation, the employee remains within their original organizational structure but takes on different responsibilities or roles. This is often seen in government or large corporations. In secondment, the employee becomes part of another organization's workforce, adopting its culture and working methods, often to gain different experiences or skills.
The purpose of deputation is often to utilize specialized skills within the organization or to provide career development opportunities. Secondment is typically used to foster relationships between organizations, allow knowledge sharing, and offer employees exposure to different working environments.
In terms of duration, both deputation and secondment can vary, but deputations are often shorter, ranging from a few weeks to several months. Secondments, on the other hand, can last from several months to a few years, depending on the agreement between the involved parties.
Employee benefits and pay usually continue from the original employer in both deputation and secondment. However, in secondment, there may be additional agreements regarding management and evaluation between the two organizations involved.

Comparison Chart

Type of Transfer

Within the same organization
To a different organization


Fill vacancies, project work, skill use
Relationships, knowledge sharing, experience


Typically shorter, weeks to months
Longer, months to years

Employee Integration

Remains within original organization culture
Adopts new organization culture

Management and Pay

Managed and paid by original employer
Management and pay terms may vary

Deputation and Secondment Definitions


Deputation allows employees to gain diverse experience within an organization.
Her deputation to the sales team provided valuable insights.


Secondment is the temporary transfer to a different organization.
Her secondment to a non-profit organization lasted a year.


Deputation can be used to fill a temporary vacancy.
His deputation covered for a manager on maternity leave.


Secondment enables employees to adapt to a different organizational culture.
During her secondment, she adapted to the new company's work environment.


Deputation refers to the temporary assignment within the same organization.
She was on deputation to the marketing department for six months.


Secondment allows for skills exchange and partnership working.
His secondment involved collaborating on an international project.


Deputation often involves assuming different roles or responsibilities.
During his deputation, he was responsible for several key projects.


Secondment is used for professional growth and building relationships.
His secondment helped forge strong ties with the partner company.


Deputation is a tool for career development and skill utilization.
His deputation to the IT department helped him develop new skills.


Secondment can involve additional management and pay agreements.
Her secondment terms included specific performance evaluations.


A person or group appointed to represent another or others; a delegation.


The process or state of being seconded, the temporary transfer of a person from their normal duty to another assignment.


The act of deputing.


A speech seconding a motion;
Do I hear a second?


The state of being deputed.


The detachment of a person from their regular organization for temporary assignment elsewhere


The act of deputing, or of appointing or commissioning a deputy or representative; office of a deputy or delegate; vicegerency.


The person or persons deputed or commissioned by another person, party, or public body to act in his or its behalf; a delegation.
The general sent a deputation to the enemy to propose a truce.


Among Christian missionaries, the process or period of time during which they raise support in preparation for going to their mission field.


The act of deputing, or of appointing or commissioning a deputy or representative; office of a deputy or delegate; vicegerency.
The authority of conscience stands founded upon its vicegerency and deputation under God.


The person or persons deputed or commissioned by another person, party, or public body to act in his or its behalf; delegation; as, the general sent a deputation to the enemy to propose a truce.
Say to great Cæsar this: In deputationI kiss his conquering hand.


A group of representatives or delegates


Authorizing subordinates to make certain decisions


How long is a secondment?

Secondment can last from several months to a few years.

What is secondment?

Secondment is a temporary transfer to a different organization.

What is deputation?

Deputation is a temporary assignment within the same organization.

Does secondment change the employee's working environment?

Yes, it involves adapting to a new organization's culture.

Who manages a deputed employee?

They are managed by their original employer.

What is the purpose of deputation?

The purpose is to utilize skills internally or for career development.

Does deputation involve a role change?

Yes, it often involves taking on different responsibilities.

Are there risks in secondment?

Yes, including cultural fit and clarity of role in the new organization.

How long does a deputation last?

Deputation can last from a few weeks to several months.

Who manages a seconded employee?

Management can be shared or defined by agreement between organizations.

Why are employees seconded?

For skills exchange, experience, and building inter-organizational relationships.

Can deputation lead to permanent position changes?

It's possible, but deputation is typically temporary.

Are there risks in deputation?

There can be challenges in adapting to a new role temporarily.

Does secondment require a formal agreement?

Yes, a formal agreement between the two organizations is usually necessary.

Can international assignments be a form of secondment?

Yes, international assignments are often considered secondments.

Is deputation common in government jobs?

Yes, it's particularly common in government and public sector roles.

Is secondment common in the private sector?

Yes, especially in multinational companies and partnerships.

Does deputation require a contract?

Typically, terms are outlined in an internal agreement or policy.

Can a deputation lead to skill development?

Absolutely, it's a key opportunity for skill development and experience.

Can secondment affect career progression?

Yes, it can positively impact career growth and opportunities.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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