Non-traditional workers are becoming more standard in the Canadian workplace, according to a new study by Randstad Canada.

The recruitment firm found contractual, remote, consultant or freelance workers currently make up 20 to 30 per cent of the workforce, and expects this number will increase in the next decade.

Read: The intricacies of providing benefits in the gig economy

“Canadians, and especially millennials, are re-thinking their approach to employment, which is changing the way that employers look to fill their staffing needs,” said Marc-Étienne Julien, chief executive officer at Randstad Canada, in a release.

“New technologies and new attitudes towards employment are having a profound effect on how the workforce will look in 2025. This shift in thinking and the willingness of young Canadians to eschew the traditional nine-to-five for non-traditional roles will dramatically change the makeup of the workforce over the next decade.”

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Employers that hire non-traditional workers have more agile workplaces, according to Randstad. It notes temporary workers today offer a wide variety of expertise, from blue collar and light industrial skills to information technology, engineering, accounting and human resource skills.

The study also found nearly 80 per cent of temporary or freelance workers said they’re just as loyal to their employer as they would be if they worked full time. Additionally, 62 per cent of employees surveyed believe employers should be more open to flexible work arrangements and prioritize their skills and performance over their type of employment.

Read: 71% would turn down a job that offered no flexibility: survey

Many of the employers surveyed said they use a flexible staffing model to reduce costs, while 21 per cent said the model helps improve their operational performance. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of employees surveyed said they favour non-traditional employment for flexibility and control.

The study also found many employers are overcoming their initial hesitations about employing non-traditional workers. It found 36 per cent felt they’re better equipped to meet customer demand and 34 per cent believed they have access to wider range of specialized talents and skills.

Read: Employees would give up perks and pay for work-life balance: survey

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It’s a fiction to claim that young people are driving “non-traditional” work arrangements, though admittedly, the more variable and widespread insecure work arrangements are, the better business is for the staffing agencies.

Why not be honest and call these “low-cost labour arrangements?”, which for employers (but not the staffing agencies, which take a cut of the comp.) also equates to lower benefits, pension and termination costs.

I think that if BC is going to publish these types of articles by authors with glaring conflicts of interest, they should also offer space to sociologists or demographers who study labour trends, and draw the correct inferences.

Tuesday, April 18 at 11:38 am | Reply

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