Friday, April 3, 2009
Full-time jobs as we knew them will not return; Washington will have to provide health care
CNBC has a trend story that will become a truth in the employment market for the rest of our lifetimes.
Freelance work that does not tie companies down with paying health benefits and 401ks will become permanent no matter when the economy recovers. And that makes universal health care a must for this nation's welfare.
If companies are no longer going to pay for health care, then government will have to. It is as simple as that.
Contract work does not provide the kind of security that American families require. Leaving families uncovered only increases costs to emergency rooms and the health care industry.
Diane Shader Smith was laid off from her Los Angeles public relations job in December, but has found herself working nearly full-time since February—doing freelance PR for various companies.
"It's a very scary job environment out there, and I consider myself lucky to have any work," says the 49 year old Smith. "But I've got a list of seven clients and I love them. I'm very happy."
Shader Smith is part of a growing trend of workers who have gone from regular full-time jobs to contract work—or freelancing. They may not all be happy about it—but at least it's a way to keep working and maintain some income. For some, it also may be the best way to find a permanent job.
At the same time, contract workers are becoming a permanent fixture in the economy that is likely to continue even after the recession is over.
"I think we are seeing a fundamental change," says Tom Mobley, a professor of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Ohio. "Companies will staff up at certain levels again, but I think they will use freelancers or consultants on a regular basis going forward."
The recession clearly has prompted the rapid growth of freelancing in a wide variety of professions.