The mystery of contract work: why so many people?


The mystery of contract work: why so many people?

A new NPR/Marist poll shows that one in five American jobs is held by a contract worker. Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could account for half of America’s workforce. In a weeklong series, NPR discusses many aspects of the change.

Alex Belfiori will have a big day later this week with his boss in a conference room at the dike sporting goods headquarters near Pittsburgh. Topic: his future with the company.

Belfiori, 28, said: “I was told… I’m not guaranteed full-time employment.

For the past eight months, he has been a contractor for the company, dealing with technical requirements. He likes his job. This is a practical operation that involves making sure the projector, TV, computer and audio equipment are working properly. The salary is decent – about $20 an hour – but not very good. So he hopes that when he sits down with his boss, he will find a more challenging and financially rewarding job.

“I’m nervous,” says Belfiori. “But…… Pittsburgh has a lot of high-tech jobs, so I’m not scared.

Belfiori is part of America’s nascent liberal workforce. According to the NPR/Marist poll released this week, 65% of workers like Belfiori are male. Sixty-two percent of them were under 45.

Young contract workers, not just men, have a different career than their parents, whose jobs are more flexible but less predictable. Belfiori has had five jobs since graduating from college.

He earns enough to pay the rent, provide car and student loans, and deposit $50 a month in retirement accounts. His experience reflects what other contractors have told us in the NPR/Marist survey: a lot of work is available. But having a solid future career – building a life – is more elusive.

“It’s the road to the world,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the education and labor center at Georgetown university.

“Everyone must – – employers and workers in the economy more selfish, if you are an employer, you don’t need to be responsible for employees, employees do you wish to contract, when business is good, production falls into place, use these people”.

Carnevale says contract workers will be shown when production declines.

He said: “they live in such a world, if the time is good, the contractor’s performance is also very good, in fact, to do better than line workers, have more independent and more entrepreneurial opportunities, but when the business downturn, was fired for the first time. ”

This is an unstable new world. It mainly affects men. Why men make up such a large proportion of contract workers is a mystery. One reason seems to be that contract workers are more common in male-dominated fields such as architecture, finance and IT.

Discrimination against women may also play a role, says Princeton economist Alan Krueger.

“Traditional workers are protected by the Civil Rights Act and prohibit discrimination based on race, gender and other factors,” he said. Independent contractors are not protected by the Civil Rights Act.

This is just one area where many contractors can’t enjoy the same protections or benefits as people in traditional jobs. If the contract worker is injured in the work, the contract worker will not be compensated by the unemployment compensation or the worker.

If they do get the benefits of a health or retirement plan, they are stingy. The NPR/Marist survey found that more than half of contract workers did not get any benefit from work.

Carnevale, of Georgetown, says contractors must build their own safety nets.

He said, “you are independent. “Trust your employer, the boss will take care of your convenience and tempting assumption that the boss has no right to do anything, even if he or she thinks.

Source: NPR/Marist survey of 1,267 adults conducted on solstice on December 7. “Workers” include 794 full-time or part-time adults or self-employed workers. The margin of error is +/ -3.5 percentage points.

Carnevale said, such as a strong global competition and automation and ruthless economic power has lead to dynamic changes between employers and workers, making the contract mode becomes an unstoppable, and the way of the future. According to the NPR/Marist survey, it already accounts for 20 percent of U.S. jobs. The Numbers are even more striking if millions of workers and temporary workers are on call.

For more than a decade, even after the recession ended, companies were reluctant to add jobs. They needed workers. “From 2005 to the beginning of 2015, about 95% of net employment growth was in non-traditional sectors,” Krueger said. The astonishing figure came from a field study he conducted with harvard economist Lawrence Katz.

Carnevale says that in this new working world, the only loyalty people should have is to themselves and their skills — not to any company. ‘going forward doesn’t come from the corporate level,’ he says.

“The way to increase in the U.S. is to change jobs,” Carnevale said. “It’s not about doing good work on you, it’s about getting the next job.”

Meanwhile, Belfiori, a contract worker at dick sports, is taking several steps to establish financial security. One is very practical; The other is more adventurous, more adventurous.

“I helped fix the computer, and I invested in electronic money,” he said.

It’s a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. He took the risk in June. “I’m working on this,” he said. “I’ve decided to withdraw thousands of dollars from my savings.”

Since then, the price of the cryptocurrency has rebounded. Belfiori is still far ahead in his investments, but he does not expect the cryptocurrency to achieve the American dream, or to fund his retirement. Maybe it will pay a happy holiday.


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