Where are all of the Permanent Jobs?

February 20th, 2017

“I want a full-time job”, is a phrase that we often hear when talking to a candidate about a contract assignment. Most times after further investigation, the candidate is interested in a perceived “permanent” position with an organization. We have seen many candidates hold out and pass up contract opportunities waiting for that proverbial “permanent job”. Most end up extending their unemployment status. What they do not realize is that they could be earning while waiting for that “permanent job”.

Most contract assignments are “full-time” jobs. Some candidates seem to shy away from contract assignments because they are perceived as “non-permanent”. I wonder, what exactly is a “permanent” position anyway?

Job-seekers typically equate “permanent” positions with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Full-time (40 hours or more) of work per week
  • Health Benefits
  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Retirement Plans
  • Long-term

Reputable staffing and consulting firms with strong client relationships offer all of the above to their contract associates. These assignments should not be misclassified as temporary jobs.

Over the past 25 years, we have moved to a more “free agent” structure in the employment workforce. Some studies suggest that over 30% of the workforce is contract-based. With changes to the tax code to include 401(k) plans, possible shifting of health care benefits away from employers, and average length of employment with one employer at 4.5 years, we have created a culture of “free agents”. “Free Agents” are free to move from work-place to work-place with their portable benefits tucked neatly into their briefcases.

We have placed candidates on initial six-week assignments that ended up lasting many years. With so many external factors going into one’s length of employment at a certain company, the center of attention should be around the nature of the work and the intellectual challenges it offers, not a perceived “permanent job”. The latter does not exist.

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