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 newly engaged workforce.
Last week, we discussed “The Great Recession” as the fourth shift that affected a sea of change in the U.S. labor market starting in 2007. As the global and U.S. economies suffered, and with many organizations experiencing massive layoffs or stopping hiring altogether, professionals turned to freelancing as a means of employment or to work in their desired field. Incidentally, many discovered they enjoyed the independence and control that came with freelance work, as well as the ability to work in their field.
- Read Part 1: The Outsourcing Appetizer
- Read Part 2: The Organization – Individual Inversion
- Read Part 3: The Evolution of Communication and Collaboration Technology
- Read Part 4: The Great Recession
Chapter One: The Shift
The Fifth Shift: an Emerging Culture of Passion
The fifth and final shift we identified was the popular acceptance and personal desire to blend work and passion. As people grew increasingly disengaged and dissatisfied with their daily jobs, the theme of doing what you love grew. In 2005, Apple’s Steve Jobs captured this theme in his commencement address to the graduating class at Stanford University:
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
The conspicuous success of new companies run by millennials that were started with little more than an idea and a confidence borne of personal passion, drove increasing numbers of people who were hungry for a sense of purpose, autonomy and success to jump on the “me too” bandwagon. All employees had an idea – if only how to improve business processes and operations in their daily experience. Freelancing and contract work served as the catalyst for professionals to do more of what they wanted and were passionate about, which was proven through the massive growth seen around the world in online staffing platforms. These platforms have been forecast to see a compound annual growth rate between 40% and 60%.
Increasing numbers of people who were hungry for a sense of purpose, autonomy and success began to jump on the “me too” bandwagon, after they witnessed the conspicuous success of new companies run by millennials. Many of these organizations started out with little more than an idea and a confidence borne of personal passion. This was reflected in the notion that all employees have an idea – if only how to improve business processes and operations in their daily lives. The massive growth in the world of online platforms furthered this shift, with forecasts predicting a compound annual growth rate of 40-60%.
Taken together, these five shifts in the traditional employment landscape radically disrupted both the expectation and practice of the way we work. The growth of independent contracting, communications and collaboration technology in the wake of the Great Recession came at a time when employees were seeking greater purpose, meaning, and autonomy in their work, and enterprises were proving to themselves that an outsourced elastic expertise model could work for them.
Coming Up: We take a look at the two disruptions that emerged from these five shifts and how they combined to form the nexus of the new reality of work as we know it.