If I Were Running A Company…Permanent

Written by Tracy

At my current job, I contact people (phone, email, and text) that I have an opportunity, either from a client and internally. For most of the responses, the candidates ask if this a full-time job. I have to clarify, to most of them, that this is a full-time, contract position. Some accept it, but some balked because they want a permanent position. That’s the keyword: permanent.

In the day in age of the gig/freelance economy, the most powerful word in a job is “permanent.” Permanent jobs don’t pay as high (by the hour), but it makes up to what employees are looking for: benefits. Although employees have to pay a portion of it, the benefits (health insurance, life insurance, 401K, perks, etc.) give employees some security that they are taken care of. What I found weird about this is 1) people need to get a job to get these benefits and 2) the tenure of permanent positions are getting shorter. In January 2014, the median age of tenure was 4.6 years. Obviously, the younger workers stay less with the company, while older workers stay longer. The argument I’m trying to make is “permanent ” is a powerful word that needs to be taken out.

By saying you have a “permanent” job, employees think they’re secure and if they perform well, they could stay with the company for a long time. However with rapid technology, executive decisions (executive pay, organizational structure, influence, etc.) and employee turnover, the “permanent” positions tenure is getting less each year. You could train employees new things, but would employees are willing to learn new things to stay? That’s up to them. Another thing is inflation. I have mention previously that working after two years, your salary value at the company plateaus. That is not good for employees as their current salaries can’t keep up with rising costs (mortgages, insurance, groceries). There are two routes: either ask for a raise or go to another company. That’s a lot of pressure for both sides.

What companies need to be is acting like a sports team where every employee has a contract and everyone has an expiration date; either 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 90 days; it’s up to the company or the employee to decide if they want to continue for a certain amount of time. Although money is a powerful statement, they key for many companies is to have a lot opportunities for employees to choose from with in. Either it will be personal growth or contributing to different projects; you want to give employees options. If there are fewer options, the employee will likely leave because there’s nothing to do except just going to the office and stay there 9-5. This is why having set terms can help employees and employers to decide what to do in the future.

Are you being naive that employees want set terms in their agreement? 

Yes, but it is not far-fetched. More people are working on second gigs and more are working on a temp/contract basis. In the future, this is going to be the norm and employees act like NASCAR drivers with a primary sponsor, then a few secondary sponsors they are contracted to say. No one stays forever at anything.

What about benefits? I want those benefits!

You decide what benefits you want. If employers want to save money, they give their employees a choice to get benefits from their employer or themselves. Let’s be fair here, employer benefits are not exactly top-notch or luxurious. What they are is a service to show they care about their employees that they will pay some (or most, depending how generous your employer is). If you don’t like your employer health plan, you are free to choose any plan and the employer will reimburse some of it. The only people who I feel sorry for is the HR department dealing with all these changes.

To me, “permanent” sounds like people are complacent and happy where they are. Don’t get me wrong; I do think most permanent employees do work hard, but there are times when people say they’re a permanent employee as a defensive mechanism because they have benefits and need to keep that job because of that. In addition, if it’s such a “permanent” position, why do employers layoff people because of circumstances that are out of control? That’s not right. I want to hear people to say what they like about their job, not what the job offers them.

Image provided by PenDragon

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