Say goodbye to full time jobs with benefits

by Barrie Hopson on June 9, 2010 · 0 comments

in New ways of working,portfolio careers,The Book

This is the title of a fascinating article on CNNMoney.com which, in effect, is making similar points to those being discussed increasingly in the UK. Employers are sometimes the last to see the pluses of having a much more flexible work force which would also include these strange people called portfolio workers.

In 2005, the US government estimated that 31% of  workers were already so-called contingent workers. Experts say that number could increase to 40% or more in the next 10 years.  James Stoeckmann, senior practice leader at WorldatWork, a professional association of human resource executives, believes that full-time employees could become the minority of the nation’s workforce within 20 to 30 years, leaving employees without traditional benefits such as health coverage, paid vacations and retirement plans, that most workers take for granted today.

What is interesting is to read the comments of Sara Horowitz, the founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union, an advocacy group for freelancers and independent contractors, who states that employment laws and protections have been slow to recognize this shift. For example, independent contractors aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. And they have to pay both the employee and the employer match on their Social Security taxes.  But Horowitz said not everyone who works as a freelancer or independent contractor is unhappy with their situation.  She estimates about 30% are satisfied with the arrangement, about equal to the number who desperately want to find a full-time job with benefits. The other 40% are somewhere in the middle, feeling pleased by aspects of their job and unhappy about others.  “It’s not that most want to be freelancers or don’t want to be freelancers. They’re just following the work, and the work itself is evolving,” she said.

Portfolio workers are beating a path to a new concept of paid work. As we say in our book, this is not a workstyle for everyone but for those who tried it very few ever wish to return to so-called full time job.

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