Temporary workers. Contractors. Freelancers. Associates. No matter what they’re referred to, contract workers are a large and important part of many businesses, industries and Canada’s workforce as a whole.
Let’s take a moment to consider the benefits and importance of temporary labour to Canadian families, businesses and the economy.
- Helps industries meet production quotas and seasonal ramps. Many industries (including Agriculture, Hospitality, Logistics, Manufacturing, IT and the Broader Public Sector) rely on a mix of permanent and contract workers to meet seasonal peaks and ramp ups based on client or market demand, as well as to hire for project-based assignments. Without temporary workers, entire industries and businesses wouldn’t be able to meet these demands. High volume hiring during peak periods creates jobs for over 2 million Canadians and lets businesses grow and compete—further creating employment opportunities when businesses are able to expand.
- Provides flexibility all around. Not only do businesses require flexibility in scheduling to accommodate periodically extended hours, shift-work, off-hour projects, fluctuating production plans and changing demands, but workers increasingly prefer flexibility in work schedules as well. Study after study has found that younger workers favour flexible work hours, but employers are learning that employees of all ages prefer more flexible schedules too! Parents need the flexibility to schedule their work around PA days, school vacations, doctor’s visits and extracurricular activities. Freelancers love the option of working periodically in between personal or side projects. Many employees are also pursuing continuing education and training, and need the flexibility to accommodate class times, work and school assignment deadlines. And Gen X’ers know far too well the demands that come with being the sandwich generation; taking care of children and aging parents while working a typical 9-5 has many feeling strained. Employees of all generations want flexible work hours with the ability to ramp up and down as their needs change, achieve work-life balance and choose their own schedules. And businesses need the flexibility to meet their varying scheduling and seasonal requirements. Contract hiring fulfills both of their needs.
- Exposes employees to varied workplaces and industries. When looking at a stack of resumes (or results from a keyword crawler), Hiring Managers focus on 3 sections: the applicant’s experience, technical know-how, and their “soft skills”. Working for different employers, across varied industries and holding several job titles is a fantastic way to strengthen all 3! Accepting contract roles gives employees a first-hand feel for diverse businesses and roles—all the while growing their experience and skills, and reducing “employment gaps” on their resumes. Taking on a contract assignment also lets first-time or transitioning workers “try on” different positions and responsibilities before deciding which fit their needs best. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with unique and sought-after skills who want to try out multiple employers before committing to one that will give them exactly what they’re looking for. It also allows workers an opportunity to get in with a particular employer who may not be hiring on a permanent basis at the time. When that employer does have an opening for a permanent position, the contractors who have already proven their skills and know their operations are often thought of first to fill the role. In fact, over 1,200 of Adecco’s temporary Associates were hired on a permanent basis by our clients last year alone. Temporary employment lets job-seekers prove their skills and gives employers an opportunity to evaluate the best candidates before hiring the most suitable for longer term assignments.
- Offers employees skills training, experience, mentorship, and benefits. When the temporary labour that businesses need is supplied by a staffing firm, the benefits to both clients and temporary staff are magnified. Temporary staff receive expert guidance from professional Recruitment Consultants on their resumes, cover letters, interview tips, personal branding and presentation skills. They act as the human link between clients and candidates in a sea of online applications. Once candidates are on or between assignments, they get access to not only on-the-job training but also online training seminars and software tutorials they can complete on their own time and upgrade any skills they want—all at no cost to them! Adecco offers 400 of such training modules online to our Associates, ranging from technical software courses and customer service skills, to Health & Safety legislation and procedures. Our Associates can continue to work while they complete courses that strengthen their skill sets and resumes. In addition to the complimentary benefits mentioned above, our Associates can also participate in our robust Group Benefits Plan (once they’ve completed the required number of hours), which entitles them to extended health, dental, drug and insurance benefits. The benefits of working with a staffing firm extend beyond the job experience and skills development temporary workers receive. Hiring managers can focus on business while the firm takes care of employer responsibilities, oversight, payroll and guidance of their temporary workforce.
- Presents employment opportunities to vulnerable populations. Contract and temporary employment gives new Canadians an opportunity to land respectable work opportunities, gain work experience and start providing for their families quickly. It gives motivated parents re-entering the workplace after parental leave or life changes an opportunity to start earning a salary once again and edge into longer-term positions. It lets seniors find part-time work, graduates land their first jobs and students get supplementary work while they’re in school. Temporary employment positively impacts every generation, demographic, and facet of Canadian life.
- Gives Millennials what they’re looking for. Millennials make up over 37% of the Canadian labour force, and they’re increasingly more open to jumping between projects, companies, and industries for experience and variety. They’re also much more likely to pursue “side-hustles” and passion projects—such as graphic design, baking, yoga instruction or writing. Temporary positions fit in nicely with their varied schedules, changing priorities, love of travel and a strong desire for work that fits in with their lives. And when young job seekers or recent grads are challenged in finding a permanent job in a timely manner, working on a temporary or contract basis fills in the gap of not working at all.
With all the benefits that temporary labour provides to business and the economy, employees and their families, it’s no wonder that it’s the preferred career path for millions of Canadians. A large contingency of temporary or part-time workers in Canada voluntarily choose part-time work due to all the reasons discussed above, including a preference for added flexibility or seasonal work, better scheduling around classes for students, and greater work-life balance. In fact, a CareerBuilder/Inavero survey (presented at the 2016 ACSESS Conference) found that 76% of temporary employees work temporarily by choice! Canada’s businesses and industries need temporary labour, and Canada’s workforce loves its advantages. We hope that’s a permanent match.