Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gigonomics: The New Workforce Model?

Newsweek published an interesting piece today titled The New American Job: Are freelance and part-time gigs the future? The piece discusses how, in the current economy, a job is not a job using the traditional definition. Work for many has become a pastiche of part-time gigs, project contracts and fill-in freelance work. Here's an interesting quote from Newsweek:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment was up in December across all fifty states from the previous month and the prior year. Some 2.5 million full-time jobs have evaporated in the last 13 months, contributing to what's being called the "gig economy." But there is a convergence of other, more developed trends at play as well. Tight-budgeted company managers long ago embraced outsourcing to only pay for what they can use. A new generation of workers has 24/7 connectivity, lacks corporate loyalty, and thinks like (if the McCain/Palin contingent will give us back the word) mavericks. Put them together and you get gigonomics.

New York is a good example of what's being seen around the country where (from Newsweek) two thirds of the opportunities created last year were either part-time, temporary or contract based, according to Sara Horowitz of the Freelancers Union, a group which does advocacy work and provides benefits for independent workers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed giving tax relief to the thousands who actually pay more in taxes because they are self-employed.

Will self-employment stick or is this just the result of our current economic meltdown? Should we be teaching business/self-employment survival skills in our science, technology and engineering classes?

My final question is do we have the broadband infrastructure in place in our country as we shift to this model and compete with the rest of the world? I think most of us realize the answer to this question is no.

Be sure to read the entire Newsweek piece linked here.

1 comment:

Mark Viquesney said...

In Arizona this happened with all the tech writers in the early 90s and has stayed that way. None of the technical writers like it because it is feast or famine - you either are working or you are not and you have no way of planning anything. The only people who made money was the placement agencys - hire a writer out for 20-25 dollars an hour and charge the company 60. Many writers left the field to pursue more stable careers.