After being laid off in 2010 from the pharmaceutical company Roche, where he had worked for nearly 14 years, Paul Oleas thought it would only be a matter of time before he found another permanent position.
But after six months of searching, and no full-time opportunities in sight, the pharmaceutical chemist accepted a six-month contract position with MAP Pharmaceuticals. At the end of the contract, Oleas was offered a full-time position. His relief was short-lived, however, as the company was acquired by Allergan, and Oleas was laid off again.
Oleas is now in his third short-term contract position in as many years, and he’s accepted the possibility that he may never attain the sense of permanency he once had. “You have to roll with the punches,” he says. “And you have to try to make the best out of it that you can.”Interesting comments on people with contigent positions:
Within the American Chemical Society membership, roughly 3% of industrial members who responded to the 2013 ACS Comprehensive Salary & Employment Survey reported being in a temporary or fixed-term contract position (C&EN, Sept. 23, page 9). Although this percentage has stayed relatively flat in recent years, new graduates, with a current unemployment rate of more than 12%, may in fact experience a higher rate of temporary work, says Gareth Edwards, senior research associate in the ACS Research & Brand Strategy department.
Gold says that five years ago, Fairway Consulting Group wasn’t involved in providing contractors, only full-time employees. Now, he says, filling these positions brings in 15–20% of the company’s revenue.
Similarly, Marc Miller, senior director of medicinal and process chemistry at life sciences recruiting firm Klein Hersh International, has seen an uptick in contract and temporary hiring. Approximately 20–25% of the firm’s placements are for contract positions, and he anticipates that percentage will grow. “I think you’ll see it move toward almost a 50-50 split between permanent and contract hiring into 2014 and 2015,” he says.What is weird about contract positions is that my impression is that they are paid lower, not higher than full-time positions. You would think (and for some organization (i.e. hospital nurses), it is) that this would not be true, that the temps make more money to compensate them for taking on a more contingent position. That doesn't seem to be the case in the pharmaceutical industry, although perhaps I am wrong.
The professor quoted in the article echoes my concerns fully:
The growth of a contingent workforce worries Erin Hatton, an assistant professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and author of the book “The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America.” “Not only do these jobs not offer any sense of job security, these jobs also pay lower wages and offer worse benefits,” she says.
Permanent employees could also be affected by the rise of contingent workers, Hatton says. “When workers are worried about being replaced by contingent employees, they’re more willing to accept lower wages and worse benefits packages.”Quite so. Thanks to Linda for a worthwhile article, if a bit depressing. Best wishes to the permatemps, and to all of us.