The Future of the Workforce

MBO Partners on the Future of the Workforce

MBO Partners is a talent intermediary that connects freelancers and contractors with corporate and government clients.  They become the “employer of record” for freelancers providing them and their corporate and government employers with administrative support and services.

For their corporate customers they provide independent contractor payrolling and risk mitigation around the hiring of contractors – a growing issue. MBO Partners is part of the rapid growing field of providing contingent workforce solutions to corporations and government agencies.

They recently hired a new executive and posted an interview with him on their blog.  Most interesting was his view on the future of the workforce:

There’s no doubt the dependency of large companies on employing enormous numbers of people in large, complex multi-national infrastructures is on the retreat. We’ve seen the peak – in terms of regular full time employees, organizations will never be as large as they have been, as we saw in 2006 and 2007.

So how will work get done? Through small and micro-businesses, independent contractors, SOW consultants, and non-traditional employees. It’s going to be about the project-based outsourced workforce. And over the next ten or twenty years, companies are going to shrink in terms of number of employees. Most of the work will be done through virtual partners, offshore, and of course closely aligned partnerships with consultants, freelancers, and small businesses.

This view is quite close to the forecast in the Intuit Future of Small Business forecast report The New Artisan Economy, which we co-authored.

The one exception is we differ on large corporations.  We think they will get larger, not smaller over the next decade.  This is covered in the same report in the Barbell Economics section.  But we are open to the possibility that even as they increase their size in terms of revenue, assets and market share, large corporations may employ fewer and fewer full-time employees.

Either way, the shift to a contingent workforce is going to fundamentally change how business is done and the compostion of the workforce over the next decade.

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