Affordable Care as an Aid to Consulting

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Some rights reserved by Kevin Burkett

 

Last month, the American Staffing Association worked with Representative Todd Young (R – IN) to approve HR-2575 which redefines the Affordable Care Act’s designation of full-time employee status. Currently, workers are defined as full-time if they work 30 hours per week – HR-2575 increases the minimum to 40 hours of service per week for full-time status. The law passed 248 to 179. HR 2575, along with the 54 other votes in Congress to alter, defund or undo the ACA, will go nowhere. Even if the bill passes the senate (and it won’t) President Obama will veto it.

But worse than being a useless effort – it is just bad for business.

The greatest competitive advantage a consulting firm has is its ability to attract and retain talent. Our biggest obstacle to recruiting finance talent is the lack or poor benefit packages most firms in the implementation consulting space provide. When recruiting with top tier candidates we are frequently passed over for roles with better benefits. My clients, bulge bracket investment banks, put strict controls on our profit margins, yet most of them have expressed willingness to renegotiate terms in light of the ASA mandate.

So, I find myself in a situation where the federal government has solved one of my biggest recruiting problems, and my clients are willing to pay for it.

So why is my industry association fighting it?

Simple – they view our value as one of price and squeezing our employees on cost as the way to get there. I don’t see the world that way – my clients use Wall Street Services because we can get financial services Project Mangers, Business Analysts and Fund Accountants to them quickly and that those professionals will produce high quality work in less time. We do so with little notice and redeploy when projects complete. Yes, cost is an issue but in my experience it is secondary to the quantity of high caliber employees.

What is more? I would much rather spend more on benefits that add value and lessen recruiting costs. So it is time to recognize that if 55 congressional votes to end the Affordable Care Act have failed, the 56th is unlikely to succeed. Let’s focus our efforts on creating structures that make it easier for us to get our employees the benefits they need.

Cheers, and until next time,
Peter Laughter, CEO