Here’s an interesting and thoughtful piece from the National Freelancers Union. More people are talking about the new, freelance workforce (also known as the “gig economy”), but rarely from the point of view of those freelance workers themselves. Read on to get the union’s take on this tendency, particularly in academia:
Is the Future of Work Stuck in the Past?
This article is reproduced with the permission of the Freelancers Union partner, Trupo.
Almost 25 years ago, Freelancers Union was formed to cater to the needs of a growing independent workforce – one that didn’t have a mechanism to help everyone come together, pool resources, and advocate for their rights.
Now, roughly 56.7 million – one in three – Americans reported freelancing last year, contributing $1 trillion to the economy. Naturally, the rise of the gig economy, coworking spaces, and terms like “permalance” spark discussions and panels around the future of work.
Unfortunately, more often than not, Future of Work conversations focus on the impact on businesses rather than individual workers. Over a nice catered lunch, attendees are given advice on how businesses should market to the new workforce as consumers, and most recently, how technology and automation will affect business profitability and the labor force.
Notably absent from the talks are the middle-class workers directly shaping the future. These events happen at think tanks and academic institutions, fueled by an influx of philanthropic funding. Yes, they can lead to some interesting solutions for potential challenges the workforce could face, but they’re not coming from the people who are most affected by the changing work structure and economy. In fact, “The Future of Work” takeaways are often radically disconnected from the needs of American workers.