Is a Temporary Position Right for You?

A temporary position is a job with a fixed term, generally created to replace employees on sick, maternity or paternity leave, or on a sabbatical, for a boost in production or a strong seasonal demand, or to carry out special projects.

The temporary employee is engaged full-time or part-time for a limited period of time of a few days, weeks or months. There are three main categories of temporary jobs: seasonal, contract and casual.

Between 2005 and 2015, the Quebec Institute of Statistics identified close to 300,000 temporary employees in the province. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015 the proportion of temporary jobs (compared to total salaried employment) was 14% in Quebec. In 2016, temporary employees represented 19.1% of the working-age population in Canada.

The special characteristics of a temporary position

Of course, temporary employment does not usually present the guarantees and benefits of stable and permanent employment.

For many employees, the intermittency and uncertainty associated with this form of work are important stress factors. First, there is the need to find a new job on a regular basis. Then there is the need to adapt to an environment, colleagues and an employer that are different each time. The temporary employee must quickly familiarize themselves with new ways of working, other procedures and tools specific to each company. In addition, some workers feel the weight of a certain isolation from not being part of the ongoing and regular activity of the company. Also important is that the pay is generally lower than that of permanent employees. In addition, the social benefits (vacations, sick leave) are generally excluded from the agreement. Finally, this type of job is often part-time and less unionized.

That said, a study presented in 2016 by CareerBuilder/Inavero shows that 76% of temporary employees do it by choice. In fact, some employees prefer the challenge of short-term missions – they find in its flexibility to better manage their work time, activities and personal projects. There are many who also see it as an opportunity to break the monotony of a permanent job. A temporary job can facilitate easier and faster integration into the labour market. It can also be an opportunity to expand your network, discover different work environments and validate your interest in a position or a field of activity. It makes it possible to expand your portfolio of skills and acquire rich and varied professional experience. Finally, although for a set term, temporary work doesn’t automatically exclude being hired on a permanent basis.

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