Mike Dudas of TechCrunch recently ran a great piece on how the world of work is changing in the “on-demand” economy:
Having been teetering on the edge of financial collapse just five years ago, businesses have been slow to re-assume their old employment practices in lieu of greater operational flexibility. As a result, Pro Publica reports that these workers are now considered “the expendables.”
The end result is longer-term unemployment and an ever-increasing employment gap. In 2012, average unemployment reached 39.5 weeks, the highest level since WWII, while the spread in employment rate between households earning more than $150K (73.5 percent) and those earning less than $20K (33.8 percent) reached its highest level (39.7 percent gap) since tracking began just over a decade ago. . . .
Dudas goes on to trace how the tech world is responding to this crisis:
This has created an opportunity for new platforms and companies to help the American worker by creating primary and secondary employment and income options and rebalancing how value creation is distributed. These platforms have a unique opportunity to help the American worker by reorganizing existing industry and labor market structures to create an environment of shared value between companies, workers and customers. . . .
. . . .These advances have led to a reorganization of industries and the labor market through the advent of online and mobile marketplaces, which are heralding the rise of the marketplace-driven “on-demand”/“sharing” economy. As Andreessen Horowitz partner Jeff Jordan said recently: “The whole employment relationship between the U.S. worker and employers has changed and there are a lot of people looking for decent paying jobs. You have a bunch of potential people who want to earn money all with mobile phones.”
It’s hard to tell whether one should be inspired or horrified. The whole thing is worth a read.