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Career Trend: The Rise of Temporary Work in Canada

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureThe CareerBeacon Team

It turns out that an increasing number of people are working temporary or contract jobs, rather than in traditional full-time permanent roles. Those are the findings of a new report released last week from Statistics Canada.

Stats Can defines temporary work as employment that has a predetermined end date or that will end as soon as a specified project is completed.

The data agency compared temp work from 1998 through 2018 to determine the 20-year trends in employment. They found that although temporary employees represent a relatively small number of overall workers, they have been growing at a faster pace than permanent employees during the past two decades.

Data from the Labour Force Survey show that 13.3 percent of employees (2.1 million workers) were in temporary jobs in 2018, up from 11.8 percent (1.4 million people) in 1998. Over this period, most of the growth among temporary employees can be attributed to increases in the number of people with a term or contract job.

Temporary employment was higher in the Atlantic provinces in 2018, where seasonal work was relatively more common. The share of temporary employment was largest in Newfoundland and Labrador at 26 percent and Prince Edward Island at 21 percent.

The pros and cons of temporary work

Temporary employment is often associated with lower wages, fewer benefits, less possibility of unionization, and little or no training offered by the employer. However, temporary employment can also provide employees with greater flexibility, experience, skill acquisition, and knowledge diversification.

How to make the most of your temporary employment

Since temporary employment is trending upwards, more and more of us are likely going to have to accept these limited-term employment opportunities at some point over our careers. You might as well make the most of them.

Temporary stints are a great way to build up your career currency. Those are the building blocks of your career that allow you to get hired more easily for new jobs and move up more rapidly within jobs.

Here’s how

Demonstrate a positive work ethic

This means not taking the job less seriously, because it’s temporary, but rather giving it your all. Show up early, work hard, help other people, be willing to learn and go the extra mile. With every new role, you are expanding your professional network. You want to leave as many people as possible with a positive impression of working with you.

Achieve (and record) notable accomplishments

This is what will set you apart from other applicants for future roles. Look for every opportunity to make a significant contribution to the role and document your successes so that you can quantify them on your resume.

Expand your skills and expertise

Each new workplace will haveitsr own technology platforms, communications systems, policies, and practices. The more of these you work with gives you a greater perspective on which ways or more effective and efficient. Experience makes you an expert. You can enter new workplaces ready to hit the ground running or offer perspective on industry best practices.

Working for different employers allows you the opportunity to increase your network of professional contacts, build your professional reputation, and acquire new skills and accomplishments for landing future gigs.

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