What do you think of permanent positions? I’m going to revisit the subjects of work and employment and in particular the lack of stability linked to employment contracts. I have in fact noticed that many people complain about the fact that it is increasingly difficult to find a permanent job, i.e. one of indefinite duration. But this is a controversial topic that frankly leaves me somewhat puzzled.
But before I explain why, I should point out that I am in no way referring to all those matters relating to the iniquities of pay or the inadequacy of contracts nor am I talking about the lack of protection offered by the State against situations unfortunately faced on a daily basis by those who do not have certain types of contract. These protections tend in fact to be mere considerations rather that legal requirements!
I am instead referring to those who persist in believing that a permanent job should be protected at all costs, always and in any case regardless of everything else.
As I have stated many times, the mechanical engineering sector is changing in an increasingly unexpected manner and this of course will inevitably also affect the labour market and the notion of permanent jobs.
For a long time now we have been receiving orders at MICROingranaggi that make the progress of our work somewhat volatile. Many of them, for example, require the use of extra personnel relative to the company’s staff. In such cases the risk involves hiring people for that specific order without subsequently being able to reallocate them once the task is completed. And the consequence is that they become a burden on the whole company, a cost that threatens to compromise the entire structure (including the people who work there).
Then, as the business world is increasingly moving in this direction, the flexibility of jobs perhaps shouldn’t always be seen as the exploitation of workers for the economic self-interest of a firm or entrepreneur (of course with all the relevant exceptions): there may also be a requirement to adapt to the needs of a working environment that is changing.
I am convinced that in a few years the so-called permanent position will cease to exist and people will have to realize that nonetheless they still need to continue working. This is precisely the situation in many parts of the world and the United States are a prime example.
Returning to the Italian situation, here is a practical example. At MICROingranaggi there are a number of machines that work on 12-hour shifts which means that half the time they are inactive. Without making additional investments in terms of machinery it would be possible to increase productivity to meet possible peaks in demand of the market simply by increasing the hours of work. But it’s not as simple as it seems.
While emergencies or peaks of a couple of weeks can be safely accommodated internally through overtime, longer lasting jobs (six months, a year or two) are much more complex to manage. Using cooperative staff (that from a contractual point of view might be the best solution) is not ideal because by law they are not permitted to work on the machines. The permanent recruitment of operators or technicians is not an option either for the reasons mentioned earlier in this article: if I subsequently can’t reallocate resources after that job, newly hired staff then become a cost for my company, compromising the entire structure.
The best solution (and the only one possible) would be to hire professionals on a fixed term basis. This course of action however ends up conflicting with the point of view of someone who – as we stated at the beginning – stubbornly defends the “permanent position at all costs”.
So what’s the answer? Well many companies move abroad where the management of work practices is different. Others are forced to turn down opportunities or orders. And this all inevitably ends up impacting on the economy of our country and on the employment rate.