Publication Date: September 12, 2016
Recently, Philanthropy News Digest spoke with Zoë Baird about the results of the recent Workforce of the Future Survey conducted by the Markle Foundation, the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative, Burson-Marsteller, and TIME magazine. She also spoke about the foundation’s Skillful initiative and how the job market in the U.S. is changing.
Philanthropy News Digest: Markle recently released the results of a Workforce of the Future Survey, which examined new employment models in what many people have taken to calling the “gig economy.” What, if anything, surprised you about the findings?
Zoë Baird: What really surprised us was the extent to which employers preferred to have full-time employees. It’s clear that employers are using independent contractors, but over 60 percent of them really prefer full-time employees, which we view as a very positive finding. The concern that twenty-first century employers have no loyalty to their employees did not come through in the survey. Employers want full-time employees, and the main reason they hire independent contractors seems to be that they need specific skills or have a surge in work and need to hire people faster than the people they already have can acquire new skills.
PND: Did respondents say why they prefer full-time employees to part-time or contract employees?
ZB: Loss of productivity and the cost of replacing a skilled employee are factors, but the main reason seems to be that full-time employees are more loyal and committed than part-time employees. And that fits well with the work we are doing with Skillful, which is designed to get people who have a high school diploma but no college degree on a path to attain the skills they need to thrive in the twenty-first century economy.