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Just-In-Time Talent

January 21, 2015

jobs coming backUber is all the rage. Not so much because of its service but more for the business model.

Our cars sit idle most of the time. Our buildings sit unused much of the time. Our employees use their special talents only a small percent of their work day. We can get very talented artists to provide a logo, slide template, stationery, business cards and more through crowd sourcing (such as 99 Designs). We can find temporary workers of just about any skill level and in just about any discipline through “temp agencies” or by searching on-line web sites.

By 2020, more than 40% of the US workforce will be so-called contingent workers, according to a study conducted by software company Intuit in 2010. That’s more than 60 million people.

This is all good stuff except that it doesn’t fit any standard economic model we use. Thus, the conundrum we see in the numbers versus how things feel economy-wise. Over on Google+ a discussion around this post by the Economist showed just how disconnected people are from the numbers and how disconnected the numbers are from the “reality” on the ground. The jobs being created are not paying middle class wages. Those jobs are being destroyed by technology (directly and indirectly). There are either high-end jobs available (and some complain of a talent shortage in this area), or low wage jobs that haven’t yet been automated. As the cost of labor for those jobs increases and the cost of automation decreases, those jobs too will become scarce.

I doubt we will be able to stop this march of economic evolution. So the question is, “How will we adjust our thinking and our economic/business models to take advantage of the new way of using assets – including human assets?” How are you “breaking up” the business processes in order to take advantage of parceling out pieces of work to contingent workers? It looks as though the Free Agent Nation is here – finally.

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