I definately think perl has a place in the professional world. I am actually a recent college graduate, and I had only had about one summer of programming in perl. I was pretty much born and raised on C/C++ all through high school and college.
But in my downtime of trying to find a job, i had about 3 times as many calls about people interested in my perl experience rather than my C++ experience. And sure enough, my current job now is doing perl. I work in a smaller company with a very laid back environment though. So i'm not sure i can really vouch for very large corporations using 'professional perl'. But I did have some interviews with some bigger companys, and they were interested in perl a great deal. However, it seemed like they were more interested in hiring people as consultants. Maybe just to make some quick fixes for problems they were having.