A decade ago, temporary work was looked down upon as a poor substitute for full-time work. Temp jobs were only suitable as entry-level work for students and those without the experience needed to secure full-time jobs. Today, in the age of shared workspaces, freelancing and consulting gigs, and countless other changes to the way we work, temporary jobs no longer have the same stigma.

Canadians are gravitating to temporary and contract jobs at an unprecedented rate. In 2013, 13% of the workforce was comprised of temporary workers. That’s a whopping 2 million workers. The trend isn’t slowing. In fact, many people are opting to make temporary work their new full-time job. Below are a handful of reasons so many Canadians are turning to temporary jobs as an attractive alternative to full-time.


create a flexible schedule

Contract and temp work allow you to pursue work that doesn’t take over your entire life. Whether you’re a parent with several young children, a student with a packed course load, or a freelancer who has a handful of clients counting on you, temp jobs allow you to supplement your income without the commitment required for a full-time job. You can take on temporary work contracts when it’s most convenient for you – if you have time to spare during your summer break, a lull in business, or when the kids are occupied at school.

enjoy independence

Once upon a time, workers who racked up a handful of job titles and positions throughout their career were considered flaky and unemployable. No more. Millennials, more than any previous generation, consider autonomy a key factor when choosing a job. Unlike their baby boomer parents, millennials have no desire to stick with a job for 10+ years. Frequently switching jobs is the new normal. Today, the average worker stays at a job for 4.4 years, according to Forbes. This would mean the average worker holds over 10 different jobs from age 18 to 65. Temp jobs and contract work are becoming the new normal.

develop new skills

In our brave new world, filled with ever advancing tech, adopting new skills isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s essential to being employable. The current job market values those with diverse skills that are constantly being updated and improved. This is something contract work and temp jobs bring to the workplace in spades – as you take on new temp jobs, you’ll inevitably learn new skills. Fitting seamlessly into a variety of contract jobs also showcase a key skill you can use anywhere: your adaptability.

manage expectations

When you’re locked into a full-time job, the expectations placed upon you are much heavier. You’re a full-time, permanent employee. Such a title comes with more responsibility and a deeper level of integration into the company. You may be expected to work longer hours, be on call, or otherwise reachable during off-work hours. Temporary workers are free of many of these expectations, and therefore often have more control over their work-life balance.

take advantage of variety

Working temporary jobs allows you to experience a variety of workplaces and develop new skills constantly. If you’re the type of person who gets restless doing the same job day in and day out, temporary work is a perfect alternative. With the right skills and some determination (and sometimes the help of a recruiter!), you can book back to back contract work with different companies with diverse cultures that call on entirely different skill sets.

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find your calling

If you’re new to the workforce – say a freshly-minted university graduate – temp work is a great way to get yourself out there and determine what you really want in a job. Sometimes you need to experience what’s out there to decide what you like and what you don’t! In the meantime, you’ll build up some experience to help you land a job you really want, when you’re ready.

schedule time off

Managing and scheduling vacation can be a pain, especially when you’re a week short on vacation days. With temp work, scheduling your vacation is as simple as not picking up a new contract for another week or two. You’re not limited to your company’s vacation schedule. There are no worries about making sure someone at the office is available to cover your workload or carefully doling out your vacation throughout the year to cover everything you need to do.

gain experience

Today’s job market is tough for new grads and others who are new to the workforce. Many millennials face the paradox of entry-level jobs that require experience. How exactly are you supposed to get work-experience if no one will give you a chance to get it? This is where temporary jobs can be a lifesaver. Starting your career with a contract job or two might not sound ideal – but you’ll learn an incredible amount and set yourself up for the career you want.

work toward full-time

Temporary work and contract jobs are often used by companies who are looking to hire full-time, but want to see what talent is out there before making a final hiring decision. Since the company isn’t obligated to hire you full-time, they can be more flexible with their hiring requirements, meaning it may be easier to get your foot in the door. Both you and the company take a test run, so to speak. If you kill it in the contract job, often there’s a plum full-time job waiting for you at the end.

get paid more

Due to the flux and uncertainty associated with contract work, temp jobs often pay a little more than equivalent full-time work.  With a full-time job, you have the advantage of knowing that your job is secure for the foreseeable future, and often enjoy other perks like health and dental benefits or RRSP contribution plans that contract workers don’t have. To make contract work a more enticing option, employers often up the salaries, sometimes quite significantly. Otherwise, skilled workers would gravitate to full-time work instead, leaving a void of temp roles.


The stigma once associated with temp work is waning. If you have marketable skills, contract work can be quite rewarding and lucrative. 

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