As the year end is vast approaching us we thought it would be a good idea to reflect upon what we’ve learned from 2010. This year brought upon a glimmer of hope that the Canadian economy was on its way to recovering from the hardships of the past year. Although the job market was not up to par with previous years, there was one workforce that seemed to flourish during the economic downturn: temporary labour. Contractor and temporary labour has increased over the past 4 years by 4% and continues to play a major role in many organization’s overall workforce strategies (StatsCan).
Temporary labour is by no means a new trend; however it seems that there are three key driving factors that have helped gain the interest of labour professionals.
1) The Economy. Yes, everyone knows that the economy has been less than stellar the past couple of years. The economic downturn has been at the forefront of every story and the issue can be discussed and dissected until our faces turn blue. However, it is a fact that cannot be overlooked when trying to understand how and why contract labour has piqued the interest of many organizations. Perhaps the most appealing characteristic of contingent labour is that this type of workforce is agile and they have the ability to work in different industries and functions on a per project basis. Moreover, they are a highly skilled workforce; StatsCan recently published a study entitled Temporary Labour in the Economic Downturn, and revealed that contract workers were 34.9% more likely to have a University Degree in comparison to their permanent counterpart with 24.4%. Due to the agility of project based work, companies are able to acquire highly skilled talent while reaping cost saving benefits as they are not employing workers beyond their means.
2) The New Generation of Workers. The new generation of workers are both interesting and foreign to employers. They are often referred to as the “Me Generation” …and for good reason. The Me Generation is extremely independent and self motivated; they believe in working for themselves and constantly expect instant gratification from their work efforts. Though this generation may come off as arrogant and cocky (I can say this because I am a part of the Me Generation) it is their determination and drive that makes contract and self employment such an appealing career path. Being a contract employee, sole proprietor or becoming incorporated allows this new generation of workers the freedom to make their own decisions and reap the full rewards of their work. The Me Generation has helped contract labour shed its stigma as being an unstable or risky career choice and will continue to propel this trend into the coming years.
3) Baby Boomers. Remember when there was a buzz about what would happen to the workforce once all the baby boomers retire? Seems that this is no longer an issue now that baby boomers are choosing to stay in the picture – well sort of. Baby Boomers have a different take on contract labour in contrast with the Me Generation; they essentially want to have their cake and eat it too, which makes sense – why would you want to have a cake and not eat it? In this metaphorical sense, this aging workforce wants the freedom of retirement with the benefits of picking up work as they please – contract work gives Baby Boomers the ability to do just this. We can therefore expect this experienced generation of workers to continue to contribute their knowledge and expertise within the workforce.
These key factors are undoubtedly in it for the long haul with no sight of fading off any time soon. Now as we gear up to journey into 2011 we can expect contract labour to continue its impactful presence on the Canadian workforce.
We here at Contingent Workforce Solutions hope that this past year has been both prosperous and fulfilling for all. Happy Holidays and see you all in the new year!