There are many reasons why a company would want to hire a flexible or freelance worker; a worker who comes into the office, with the right skill, when a company needs it. A worker that is willing to work on a temporary, contract, seasonal, gig, project or part time basis. Let’s face it, there are often times that we need a certain expertise, or are just overloaded but do not have the budget or need to hire a permanent full time or for that matter even a permanent part time employee. So the question arises: Where to find flexible workers in Canada? Traditionally we have turned towards temporary staffing firms.
There are several options for companies to find temporary help, so let’s take a look at them:
1-Temp agencies: This is the long standing traditional method of hiring a flexible worker. With a temp agency, when you hire a person, who actually works for the agency, to come and assist you. You pay a commission based on the amount of payment to the worker. Unfortunately, even though you are paying a significant percentage to retain them, if they end up working really well for you, there is no guarantee to get that specific person to return to your office. Also If you choose to hire this on a permanent basis, the cost of hiring them is quite costly. The use of temp agencies is very popular and this shows in the increase in revenues from $98.3 billion in 2011 to $104.8 billion in 2012. In Canada, according to The Globe and Mail, 13.6% of the workforce is working temporary. The number of temporary work has grown at more than triple the pace than permanent employment-up 14.2% between 2009 and 2012, versus just 3.8% for permanent work. By province, most of the growth in temp work is seen in Ontario and British Columbia. As the growth in the flexible workforce continues to rise, due to the shift in the increase in professionals seeking flexible work solutions and in the benefits to companies to increase productivity while keeping costs low, so does the number of new options available for companies to find flexible workers. This is threatening the usefulness of temp agencies as new methods to contract work out become available.
2-Online job boards: There are many online job boards out there for companies to use. Even the well known brands such as Monster and Workopolis are moving into the realm of temporary placement. Here a company can post their job and then receive an array of candidates. They can also search through resumes. This is quite time consuming sifting through resumes that do not match your need and the use of these sites can be relatively costly, especially if the job is short term. These boards are about jobs, so if you are looking for a specific skill you may not easily be able to find the right person to do it. For example, if you are searching for someone to do blogging for you, will that person have created a resume around blogging, they may be great bloggers but you would not know that.
3-Online classifieds: Posting on classifieds such as Kijiji or Craigslist is free. But, you need to keep re-posting your job over and over to remain on the first page unless you decide to pay. Many freelancers are apprehensive to share their resumes or even email addresses or phone numbers with those on the sites, as they are never very sure exactly who is on the other side receiving their information. It doesn’t feel quite safe for many. The process here is unidirectional, with companies posting their job and waiting for those to apply. It is rather time consuming to sift through the number of candidates that send resumes that actually do not even have the skills required. These sites were not really built for the purpose of hiring.
4- Freelance marketplaces: We have been seeing the growth of these alternatives over the past 10 years. Sites such as Elance or ODESK enable companies to post a job. The focus of these sites has been on IT and online positions where they work is done virtually, usually in third world countries. This is a good option if you are extremely price sensitive and you do not need to have any face to face interaction with the person who does your work. Once you post a job, it gets bid on and the lowest price usually wins. The site retains the payment to the freelancer until the job is done. This is a good option when doing work with someone in a third world country or when working with someone virtually. The cost to use these services varies between 8-15% of the payment and there are additional transaction fees to watch out for.