Let me answer that question really quickly. No. It may happen if you are a doctor or if you are with a small company and have a specific trade. Other than that, I can’t think of another profession where you could be a permanent employee with the same company your entire career. Let’s think about it. The big blue (IBM) had pension plans and some people employed by the state can still receive those. Even with pension plans, many people would approach that time when they were about to become eligible and something happened to their job. Maybe the Military? What will you do when you retire? Is anyone safe from a layoff or downsizing? If you are one of those that have been with the same company your entire career, my hat goes off to you.

Teachers? No. Schools are shutting down and they are being laid off. Nurses? No. Hospitals are working with less and less staff and the demands are higher. Sales People? You have got to be kidding me! What about engineers? Not a chance. Recruiters? Absolutely not- they are the first ones to go when things slow down.

Let me drill down further and talk about FTE or Full-time employees. If you are a full- time employee are you safe from layoffs? No. We all know that there is currently uncertainty in the national and global economy. We can only control what we can control. Full- time employees are employees that receive multiple benefits, which which means you are a liability when then a company start going south.

Full-time employment is usually the first choice for most individuals. The stability, the benefits, the 401k, the time off are very attractive to most potential employees. The truth is, however, these opportunities aren’t as readily available as they once were. More companies are wary of hiring a FTE. What if this employee isn’t all he is cracked up to be? What if he/she interviewed better than he/she is going to perform? What if our company doesn’t have a great quarter? The cost of a hiring full time- hire and loosing them can be very high and exhausting to an employer.

More and more companies are trying the contract-to- hire route or hiring contractors as a long- term solution rather than hiring full-time employees. Oddly, contractors sometimes have a better chance at staying employed than full- time employees. That is the reality of the world we live in today. Companies don’t have to make any commitments to the candidates, and the candidates don’t have to make any commitments to them. The hourly rate may be higher than it would be hiring a full-time employee, but it allows flexibility for the employer. The employers aren’t responsible for any of the variable compensation. It is also a great way to try before either party buys.

In the short term, contract hiring is the new norm. Things may change as the economic climate changes, but this is an excellent way to find employment if you are a candidate and it can help the headcount scenario for employers.

As a candidate, when you make a decision on your next opportunity, choose a company that interests you and take a look at all opportunities including contract opportunities. There is tremendous upside if it is the right fit for both parties. You could become that full-time employee that you desire. If it works out, then you have made a great decision. If it doesn’t work out, and the economic climate changes, you have just added another level of expertise to your resume that you didn’t have before. This makes you that much more marketable for your next role. Go ahead- grab that dangling carrot! It is worth it.