| Oct. 24th, 2014

Get Ready for the Post-Employee Economy

Is your resume ready for the "jobless recovery?"

In the next five years, many employers may want to pay you to do work for them--but they won't want to actually hire you. That's according to a recent survey of 2,000 employers by the McKinsey Global Institute.

This may help explain why the unemployment rate in Maine is 7.7 percent in July, down slightly from a year ago. As the Maine Department of Labor stated, "the decline in unemployment was related to lower labor force participation, not rising employment." Many people aren't counted anymore because they have given up searching for a real job and have settled for odd-jobs.

There may be plenty of work in America, but there won't be many jobs per say, if you consider a job to be full-time employment. 57.8 percent of employers in the nationwide McKinsey survey said they plan to find more part-time, temporary or contract workers over the next five years. 21.5 percent said they expect more off-shored or outsourced workers and 25.5 percent said they expect more telecommuting.

The report's authors write that "technology makes it possible for companies to manage labor as a variable input rather than a fixed one. Using new resource-scheduling systems, they can staff workers only when needed—whether it’s for a full day or a few hours."

Another advantage of this system for employers: they are under no obligation to provide once-standard benefits like vacation days and healthcare to contractors and part-timers.

McKinsey presents this 'work-from-anywhere' arrangement as "liberating and empowering" for highly-skilled professionals who can presumably charge enough to cover their basic living expenses. Thankfully, the author's also acknowledge that "workers who shuttle from one part-time job to another as they piece together a full-time paycheck will be outside the traditional employer-based benefits system."

One big problem for this class of workers in the post-employee economy is finding affordable healthcare. As healthcare costs continue to climb, the burden of finding insurance will continue to fall on individuals who don't have full-time jobs. In a cruel twist, President Obama's healthcare reforms mandate that these individuals buy insurance from healthcare companies that have no real incentives to cut costs. However, many courts have found that this individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional, and it is very likely that the Supreme Court will overturn this aspect of the law.

Photo by Flickr user Plutor, CC 2.0.

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