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AI Is Changing How Talent Requests Are Assigned and Fulfilled

Hiring is hard. Hiring at scale is even harder. That’s where hiring technology comes in. Our all-in-one hiring platform simplifies how companies manage their contingent hiring programs. In this[...]

February 25, 2020

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The Novelty of Full-Time Employment

 

Traditional employment: a relatively recent concept

The modern notion of an employee is precisely that: modern. The labor movement as we think of it today grew out of the need to protect the common interests of the nation’s expanding workforce. The impetus sprang from industrialization.

This article is an excerpt from our eBook "The Future of Talent in the Contingent Workforce". If you want to learn more on this topic, then please download our eBook.

Prior to the adoption of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), workers functioned as independent contractors. They were responsible for their own benefits, their own taxes, and they worked under limited standards for hours, job security and wages.

Today, one-third of the American workforce is again populated by varying iterations of indirect workers: approximately 42.6 million contractors, agency temps, independent consultants, freelancers and others, according to the Government Accountability Office’s most recent assessment. This trend has shown no signs of slowing since the production of the report. Why? Because as the nature of commerce has changed, so has the nature of talent. In both contexts, economic and vocational, the dynamics have adjusted to embrace flexibility, mobility, global diversity and scalability.

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The Myth of Permanent Employment

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We’re all contingent workers “The traditional model of lifetime employment, so well-suited to periods of relative stability, is too rigid for today’s networked age,” writes LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman in his latest book The Alliance. A contingent labor force is defined as “a provisional group of workers who work for an organization on a non-permanent basis.” The reality, then, is that everyone is a contingent worker. And that’s not going to change. “In the at-will era,” Hoffman asserts, “employees have been encouraged to think of themselves as ‘free agents,’ seeking out the best opportunities for growth and changing jobs whenever better offers beckoned.”

Supertemps

In 2012, Harvard Business Review noted another paradigm shift in contingent labor, this time ushering in the rise of the “supertemp.” Over a decade ago, renowned workplace author Daniel Pink evangelized the concept of a coming “free agent nation,” where the workforce reverted back to the independent nature of the pre-FLSA years. Of course, we’re already witnessing that realization of his vision. One interesting wrinkle is the supertemp, however, a rarified inhabitant of the freelance landscape with executive-level qualifications, experience, acumen and education.

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For today’s top talent, the constraints and demands of full-time corporate service no longer justify the sacrifices to social and familial obligations. People are returning to the doctrine of working to live, not living to work. Project-based work, for many, has become more attractive than the accepted alternative.

This article is an excerpt from our eBook "The Future of Talent in the Contingent Workforce". If you want to learn more on this topic, then please download our eBook.

 

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