Sunday, January 10, 2010

The permatemp workforce is becoming routine


The “permanent temporary workforce” is becoming more common, according to a BusinessWeek article reproduced on MSNBC, by Peter Coy, Michelle Conlin and Moira Herbst. The title is “The rise of the permanent temporary workforce: Pay is falling, benefits are vanishing, and no one’s job is secure”, with link here. The article discusses one example with a home telephone customer service job with LiveOps, where pay is by the minute connected. Another feature of some jobs is the lack of benefits, although the new health care reform bills may have some impacts.

Today managers are still rewarded by short term bottom line results, and have every incentive to use short term contractors with exact-fit skills. Managers are no longer paid by their “span of control.” There’s a good question as to whether business will find this sustainable.

Back in the early 1990s (during an earlier first Bush recession) employers were begininning to see that they could sometimes prevent layoffs with "piecework" policies, like Lincoln Electric in Ohio.

The situation has implications as to how workers should manage themselves online. Being a freelancer with no people under you would imply more freedom, right? Maybe so as a matter of ethics and avoiding conflict of interest. But employers might well expect to find an online presence consistent with a resume of skills.

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