Paradigm Shift

The Rise Of The Independent Worker: The Employee Viewpoint

By Rudy Karsan

What does this increasing trend mean to an independent employee? It basically changes the paradigm very dramatically. With the rise of the independent worker and the decline of the full-time employee, any vestiges of somebody else managing your career is becoming less and less likely, and the responsibility of the individual in this regard is increasing.

In the past, most people would make the decision to work independently based on the job family they were in. They would approach a company where they thought they wanted to work, their application would get accepted, they’d join, as the months and years elapsed they would look around for more opportunities, they would get headhunted, or they would continue with the same company, get promoted, and follow a career path. in this scenario, there was considerable responsibility on the part of the organization to create the path in order to recruit individuals. And, historically, organizations have pushed back the responsibility back on the shoulders of the individual. For example, in the US, the death of defined benefit pension plans where the employer was responsible for the pension plan, at a certain level of monthly income, changed to defined contribution pension plans and 401(k) plans in the private sector, where the employer would finance a portion of the savings required for retirement but the overall income stream for the individual’s retirement years is now the responsibility of the employee and not that of the employer. So these plans have a level of portability to them, you can move them from one employer to the next, you can move it into your own individual retirement account, and the like. Similarly, the responsibility the organization used to have for the career path of individuals is slowly fading and the responsibility of managing one’s own career has fallen back to the individual rather than being an organizational responsibility. And so, first and foremost, the traditional full-time employee needs to go through a mental shift that entails understanding the employer is not responsible for their career.

The employer spend toward career management will reduce, and just as in the past the employer funded the defined contribution plan and the annual income at time of retirement is now the responsibility of the employee, now the employer will provide tools and platforms like human capital management and social platforms to equip the employee with the tools with which they can manage their careers. However, they will not manage the careers for the individuals.

So, given this, employees need to think about the skills they need to be able to manage those careers in an optimal manner.


Rudy Karsan

Rudy Karsan

Nooruddin (Rudy) Karsan currently spearheads the IBM Kenexa Smarter Workforce initiative, which helps companies attract, engage and retain talent to build a smarter workforce. Passionate about creatin ...(Read More)

Posted in: Latest, Rudy Karsan, Smarter Workforce, The Thought

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