Alternative Workforce Strategies
Alternative Workforce Strategies: Earning Opportunities in the Knowledge Work Era
Key aspects of the traditional job market have been changing for several decades, enabled and increasingly required as a response to global competition, the ability to source labor in lower cost areas, and the willingness of employers to “de-compartmentalize” aspects of a business process and outsource them. This trend has only been accelerated by technology and telecommunications tools that enable work to occur anytime, anywhere and in the most efficient setting possible.
This is being seen in three areas that have a direct implication for job creation in the traditional sense:
1. Technology is being used to augment or replace roles that were previously filled by a person, such as administrative assistants, travel agents, assembly workers, bank tellers, toll booth attendants, retail clerks, etc.
2. Work is being “off-shored” or otherwise assigned where it can be achieved at a lower cost, and companies are increasingly outsourcing work that is not a core competency or profit center for the business. This is being seen in the health care industry (e.g., medical records transcription and radiology interpretation) as well as in professional services such as accounting, law, and business consulting.
3. Entire work processes have been transferred to lower cost areas of production, such as the manufacture and assembly of electronics and components, and these jobs are not likely to return to the US.
Today’s freelance and crowdsourcing approach to project work includes a variety of activities, many of which are a natural complement to current social media practices and technology. There are dozens of areas where crowdsourcing is supporting or supplanting traditional roles and employment opportunities, such as advertising, programming, writing, research, design, product development, and data analysis. Technology makes it possible to source this work instantly via alternative workforce strategies and contingent staffing models.
Project and contract assignments generally fall into one of the following categories:
(1) Transactional: tasks that can be delegated or assigned to an individual or entity with specific instructions and expectations for the completed work
(2) Relational: projects and tasks that are interpersonal in nature, and frequently require interaction and collaboration among more than one team member to complete the work
(3) Creative: requires intellectual and/or creative content from an individual, often based on ambiguous instructions or loose guidelines