Canada’s temporary staffing industry has long laboured under a false assumption. But this thriving contributor to the Canadian economy does not, in fact, exist to exploit the desperation of unemployed Canadians. Rather, went the consensus at last week’s educational forum on the subject in Montreal, it’s a meaningful contributor to this country’s employment landscape.
The instructive session the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) hosted on November 7 was attended by more than 50 staffing industry owners and managers. Also contributing to the one-day conference was a clutch of economists and researchers with an interest in the industry.
As a result of that meeting, the MEI released a statement designed to disabuse observers of whatever misdirected opinions they might hold about temporary staffing organizations.
“The staffing services industry acts as a springboard to employment,” economist Youri Chassin explains in the note, titled, “The Advantages of a Flexible Labour Market.”
“It allows the unemployed to get a leg up, and it allows employers to get a sense of their abilities, thereby facilitating good matches between the two.”
The staffing services industry takes meaningful steps to integrate the unemployed, singling out immigrants in particular, into the economic fabric of the country, says the report.
More than that, it defends the growth this industry has enjoyed of late, pointing out it’s not been on the backs of fat cats getting fatter through noncommittal employment. It’s merely been a reflection of a country-wide trend toward more “non-standard employment.”
And this subset of the labour market hosts a swell of workers for whom this employment choice is voluntary 77 percent of the time. Part-time and temporary engagement is actually a stated preference for much of the workforce, says Chassin, sought after for its inherent flexibility.
And, he adds, even for those workers who play in this arena for lack of a better option, “the staffing services industry can represent a step in the labour market-integration process.”
Indeed, says the publication, immigrants enjoy a serious boon to their employment efforts given the opportunity a temporary position affords them to demonstrate value outside of what might be difficult-to-assess credentials earned beyond Canada’s borders.