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Temporary Jobs are Reshaping the Canadian Job Market

Joel Cuttiford
|Jul 14|magazine6 min read

Demand for short-term workers has risen across Canada, and temporary jobs could become the new normal for the current generation.

Research from staffing giant Randstad shows that demand for temporary workers grew by 15 percent in the second quarter of the year. Full-time jobs rose 0.2 percent between June of 2013 and June of this year, while part-time jobs rose a full percent within the same period. This may indicate that todays employers prefer to make less of a commitment when hiring new workers.

Slow job growth due to insecurity about the global economy has fostered the influx of temporary gigs. Specifically, temporary blue-collar jobs are in high demand, with a 40 percent increase from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter. Western Canada has seen the biggest increases in temporary white-collar jobs, up 18 percent from May of 2013.

Temporary work assignments appeal to employers who arent able to provide pension plans, benefits or vacation days to their workers. And many of todays potential employees are willing to accept those conditions, as the unemployment rate climbed to 7.1 percent in June.

Overall, Canadas job market is switching from traditional tenure at one company towards contract, freelance or temporary work. Young people who are new to the workforce are being offered many of these temporary positions. Their lack of experience and competition within the market keeps them from being able to bargain for benefits or a long-term contract, thereby limiting their options.

The trend towards higher levels of temporary employment reflects the instability of the economy. A number of recent elections have contributed to this, as many businesses have been careful about spending and hiring. Many companies are unwilling to expand their workforce until they see the effects of new legislation.

The recession is still influencing businesses and the hiring decisions they make.According to Tara Talbot, vice president of human resources at jobs website Workopolis, The recession hit a lot of companies hard, and it seems that many have been reluctant to increase expenses by bringing on full-time permanent staff. So this has contributed to an increased use of part-time and contract employees, Talbot told the Huffington Post.

But temporary work arrangements can be beneficial or even ideal for some workers; particularly those just entering the workforce, as they provide knowledge and experience that can aid young employees in determining their ideal career while also providing income in the meantime.