What does ‘permanent full-time salaried’ employment really mean?

Executives at a meeting

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The recent announcement by Deutsche Bank of 12,000 job cuts reminds us all that there is no such thing as permanent employment any more. And yet for so many of us, our parents’ aspiration for us (and perhaps ours for our children) is a permanent full-time salaried job as a qualified professional in a leading organisation. ‘Get a ‘proper’ job, with a pension and a mortgage to go with it’, they said (or we say!).

Professor Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at the Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, says that the mental well-being of employees is increasingly affected by a lack of job security even if staff are currently working in a ‘permanent’ role.

In other words, the emotional dissonance between the psychological promise of a permanent role and the evidence of a ‘hire and fire’ culture can create real distress.

And what is the reality of ‘full-time’? For many, ‘full-time’ actually equates to significant overtime on a regular basis. A long hours culture is not only visible in the office. Whether the work is done at home in the evenings, on the commute for work or through substantial travel time outside working hours, the reality for most of us is that we are paid for a 37 or 40 hour week but we end up with the majority of our waking hours devoted to feeding our work habit.

And the third promise: salaried? Technically, yes, these ‘permanent’, ‘full-time’ roles are salaried employment. However, if you think salaried means that you have a reliable, consistent monthly income with regular annual increments, think again.

Annual cost of living increases for professionals are a thing of the past. Salary is increasingly a matter for individual negotiation between you and your managers. Re-organisation often results in re-grading (usually at a lower salary) or with additional unpaid responsibilities. An increasing proportion of your expected earnings can be performance-related based on individual, team or company-wide performance.

And the pension and the mortgage? That’s a whole portfolio sustainable independence career future focus change opportunity enjoyment experience life story!

So, if your job isn’t really permanent or full-time or ‘salaried’ then perhaps it is time to embrace reality. Are you going to keep faith with the myths you have been promised – or take control of your future outside corporate employment?


Charles McLachlan is the founder of FuturePerfect and on a mission to transform the future of work and business. The Portfolio Executive programme is a new initiative to help executives build a sustainable and impactful second-half-career. Creating an alternative future takes imagination, design, organisation and many other thinking skills. Charles is happy to lend them to you.