Uncovering the New Face of the American Workforce: Part 1 of 12

11.4.2014, Written by Annie Wang
Image is Creative Commons, Flickr User: Style: Raw
Image is Creative Commons, Flickr User: Style: Raw

The world of work is changing. The new face of the American workforce and an increasing portion of the international workforce is more independent, engaged and better able to deliver results, services, and products than the traditional monolithic corporation.

To get a better understanding of this shift, Field Nation conducted a comprehensive analysis of the three areas that have combined to form the nexus of this new reality of work: the shift away from traditional employment and towards contract expertise, the disruption of work as we used to know it, and the new engaged workforce.

Over the coming months, we will publish excerpts of our findings, and provide insight into how enterprises and small businesses can take advantage of this transformation to grow their business while delivering the highest quality results.


Chapter One: The Shift

The Outsourcing Appetizer

Five factors were identified as contributing to the shift away from traditional employment and towards independent expertise; the first was the transfer of talent from inside to outside the organization. Outsourcing and globalization in the 1990s and early 2000s sparked the interest of the enterprise for acquiring expertise at local market (reduced) rates. As the adoption of internet technology went global, businesses discovered a talented and available workforce that was not only less expensive, but was readily accessible.

Products and services that were delivered electronically/telephonically served as a natural starting point and were recognized by businesses as having immediate economic benefits by externalizing the costs associated with full-time, in-house employees. Companies were also able to take advantage of the differences that existed between emerging technological economies, where the value of a dollar went farther.

This benefit served as the primary force behind a growing desire for an external workforce, which also exposed new areas of need within enterprises to manage these newly-created vast and remote teams. As a result, organizations established new Program Management Offices (PMOs) in-house that created or re-imagined the business processes and management/accountability structures that were responsible for engaging these remote workforces.


Coming up: We cover the next factor that has contributed to the shift away from traditional employment by looking at the direct engagement of external expertise and the changing dynamic of the organization as a means of facilitating these transactions.