Temp staffing leaves a permanent mark

But management has done little to plan for the rising use of contingency workers
By Kirk Lemessurier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/11/2003

Temp workers come and go, seemingly having little long-term effect on the workplace environment. Or do they?

The practice of flexible staffing — augmenting the “core” workforce with short-term positions — allows organizations to adjust to market shifts. But it isn’t clear yet what other effects arise from the increasing dependence on temporary workers, says Emile Tompa, a researcher with the Institute for Work and Health who has begun a study of the personal health effects of contingency work.

An increasingly complex and global business environment has given rise to more and more workers providing contingency service to employers. The institute estimates temporary workers may comprise as much as one-third of Canada’s labour force, with more employment services firms coming on the market each year.