Freelance Professional Ranks Surging in Canada

The Canadian freelance workforce today represents just under 22 percent of Canada’s overall workforce. In the next three years, that figure could more than double.

According to the latest reported labor figures from Statistics Canada, as of December 2016 approximately 1.9 million Canadians were classified as self-employed and without having employees of their own, while another 2.3 million are classified as temporary employees. Together, these two groups make up about 21.5 per cent of Canada’s overall work force.

Here’s where it gets interesting

A recent survey commissioned by Intuit Canada predicts that full- and part-time freelancers, independent contractors and on-demand workers are expected to account for up to 45% of the Canadian workforce by 2020, more than double the current level.

Increasing percentages of professionals comprise the growing ranks of self-employed workers in Canada. That country defines its on-demand economy as those who earn a living from ride-sharing, peer-to-peer rental, project-based job platforms and online retail platforms. Whether you drive for Lyft, rent your place through VRBO, create PowerPoints for investor pitches or sell on Etsy, you’re counted as a freelance worker.

Why the trend, and why now

In Canada as in the U.S., traditional jobs are harder to come by now than they were for previous generations. Due in part to the fact that most new jobs created in the past year were part-time, the on-demand economy is becoming a major economic engine on its own. Another factor: the shift away from defined-benefit pension plans has left many retirees turning to self-employment as a way to supplement.

Other reasons Canadians are turning to self-employment include:

  • Greater work-life flexibility (47%)
  • Controlling their own schedule (77%)
  • Being their own boss (66%)
  • Supplementing their income (41%)
  • Growing their overall prosperity (44%)

Creative, IT and Finance professionals are a big part of the surge

 We’ve been on to that trend for a while here. Graphite has recently added Canadian payment services for its contractors who work across the border. We have a wide range of talent throughout North America, serving clients with global enterprises. Browse our talent if you’re in need of help now.

Sources: Globe And Mail, August 2016;   Staffing Industry Analysts, January 2017


Greg Andrade

Greg Andrade handles Graphite's marketing and communication programs. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he worked in corporate marketing for 15 years before turning his focus to virtual marketing consulting for startups and global businesses.

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