The future is about income, not jobs. Historically, financial stability was tied to having one secure job at one corporation for decades. Now, the inverse will be true. A new definition of stability is emerging, where multiple revenue streams from several companies and/or other sources will be more common. New companies are springing up to support and broker these new models. How is your company leveraging these new employment models to find the resources you need? What will your (next) career look like a few years from now?
“Permanent,” career-long jobs at a single corporation are over. The fluctuation of corporate populations has undermined the psyche of the workforce, never mind their bank balances, as they try to manage their lives and finances.
The replacement of linear, continuous, and compounding careers with latticed and diversified ones has compounded today’s uncertain economic conditions. At the same time, markets are evolving more rapidly with technology advances. Because employment is closely connected with people’s financial security and well-being, the structural destabilization of the traditional job has created widespread concern.
While the fragmented, emerging models of work are very different from yesterday’s staid career path, their risk profiles may actually improve financial stability, as diversification reduces dependence on any single organization. With multiple corporate clients, a worker is beholden to none, enabling greater stability of revenue streams.
Although the onus is transferred to the worker to find clients, manage the logistics, and deal with the operational backend of servicing work, new companies are emerging to handle these functions. They are also looking to reimagine employment stability and security from a different angle, leveraging technology to reach, match, and connect professionals and relevant clients.
JobGrouper is one such company. It aims to bring a new model of job security to workers by grouping part-time jobs to create full-time work equivalents. I talked to one of the founders, Ken Chester, about the business and their goals.
Wade: Where did the initial inspiration behind JobGrouper come from?
Chester: My cofounder, Yuanyuan Fu, is from China. There, group-buying is a cultural norm – for example, 20 people in a village may club together to buy a car. Yuanyuan was interested to marry the group-buying, Groupon-type model with a subscription commerce model. Sharing this cultural nuance with the world via technology dovetailed well with my previous experience creating a networking platform to connect global diaspora populations. So, I suggested that a group-buying platform for employment would a good fit for such an experiment.
Wade: What were the main reasons for launching JobGrouper?
Chester: We see dysfunction in the current employment system and where we see it going. First, there is what we call the Part-Time Paradox: many small businesses can only afford part-time employees, yet prospective hires mostly desire full-time employment. So, many positions go unfilled. Second, there’s the Gig Economy Paradox: to pay for benefits as well as offset income insecurity, gig-based workers raise their hourly rates to levels much higher than the equivalent yearly salary, putting these services out of reach for many.
Wade: So how does JobGrouper solve these problems?
Chester: We see JobGrouper as a way for workers to piece to together the equivalent of the full-time, salaried position of yesteryear. We are interested to share the higher hourly margin between the employer – who has a conveniently supplied, dedicated, and qualified part-time resource, and the worker – who gets the benefit of full-time hours comprised of 3-4 jobs combined and brokered by us. The job requests and inputs, matching, and monitoring are all facilitated by our platform. We get paid as a commission on each grouped job transaction.
Wade: How are clients and freelancers and contractors reacting? To what extent have you been able to prove your model so far?
Chester: Honestly, it is still in its early days, and we are in beta right now. Still, we’ve had a great response so far. We are currently being approached by numerous clients and freelancers who are interested in full-time and almost full-time hours – they can choose their preferred working profile when they sign up. In beta, we are able to modify different contractors’ schedule requests as we learn their needs and their clients’ needs. As my co-founder and I are both millennials who have worked in the Gig Economy at one time or another, we think this can radically transform the way the world works.
Creating a new definition of job security
Chester and Fu have yet to prove JobGrouper’s model. However, the concept – creating a new definition of job security, bringing a possibly disruptive but thoughtful approach that aims to be a win-win for workers and employers alike – is powerful. Other brokered and umbrella new employment-related models are out there, in companies like TaskRabbit, VetPronto, and Axiom. Many more will be developed that aim both to support and leverage the new, diversified career and fragmented job options. They will help workers increase and stabilize their revenue streams and sources, while connecting organizations with the flexible, targeted resources they need.
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