The flexible workforce is in full swing in Canada. Over the last few years, the phenomenon of on-demand work arrangements has only increased in popularity in the business world. Business owners understand the myriad benefits. Millions of companies are embracing the explosion of temps, freelancers, and independent contractors and have been contributing to the feverish growth of the on-demand workforce. And while this revolutionary transformation has been well discussed in recent years, one important question still remains: what will the future of the flexible workforce in Canada look like? Employers and workers need to know what to expect in the future in order to prepare themselves for the inevitable.
Here’s what we expect beyond 2015.
Not Just for Small Business Owners
Right now, temps and other contingent workers are most often used by small business owners. When your business is just starting to get off the ground and you don’t have the revenue needed to pay fixed payroll costs, using temporary labour is an excellent solution. You still get the work done, but without the financial commitment of permanent hires.
But in the future, the flexible workforce will likely become key to many organizations’ overall business strategies. Companies, big and small, in various industries will start to rely on temp workers for core business activities. This will allow them to keep their costs low, so they can stay competitive in the market.
We expect the conglomerates that jump on board soon and arm themselves with armies of temporary workers will be the most ready for the competitive nature of business in the future. It’s time for business owners to take the appropriate steps to prepare for the boom of on-demand labour and make it part of their business strategies now.
More Talent, Better Talent
The new generation of workers will create a stronger flexible workforce in the future. As older generations, those used to the nine-to-five workplace, start to retire, younger workers will enter. And these workers are all about work/life balance. More workers will enter the flexible workforce to reap the benefits that it offers, like added control and freedom. With more workers jumping on board, companies can expect a more talented flexible workforce to choose from. The contingent workers will have exceptional skills, experience, and education to take on any assignment.
Temporary Workers Will Become the Norm
Today, there are still more permanent employees than contingent workers in the majority of companies. But we predict that there will be a significant shift—a shift where the flexible workforce becomes the norm, and permanent employees start to dwindle off. As business owners see the great benefits of hiring the on-demand workforce, they will increase their use and start to phase out permanent payrolled employees. They won’t disappear completely, but you can expect more than 50 percent of workforces in Canada to be contingent workers in the future. Business owners won’t be using temps one at a time or sparsely. The frequency and intensity will be sure to increase until on-demand work becomes the norm.
And as companies utilize more temps, there’s going to be a need for better contingent workforce management systems. Human capital management software that is used to manage permanent employees won’t be effective. A fully integrated system will be required in order to effectively manage this new workforce and the staffing agencies that companies engage. No more spreadsheets or single-use point solutions. More comprehensive oversight will be required to improve visibility and mitigate risks, especially when working with hundreds, if not thousands, of temp workers. Soon, there will be a time when every business owner starts discussing their need for better systems to effectively manage and scale the flexible workforce for optimal efficiency.