We Are the National Electrical Contractors Association

The Voice of the Electrical Construction Industry. Learn More
Welcome back,

News Archive

Somewhere Between Employee and Contract Worker

Feb 08, 2018

politico-robotautomation

Is Technology Creating a New Hybrid Worker Classification?

There is a sense of “upheaval” everywhere you go and it’s not just because the Eagles upended the Patriots, or because the SpaceX Behemoth has successfully launched a “heavy” load toward Mars, ahead of NASA’s new space transport and exploration system (WSJ, Wednesday, February 7, 2018, p. B-5). Politico Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2018 issue has a cover title, “Lookout D.C., the Robots Are Coming for the Swamp,” including articles about algorithmic lobbying and robots breaking politics, Politico contributing writers also feature robots literally all around us with a good look at the real future of work. image source

Read article on current workplaces incorporating robots

As reported by Danny Vinik, the U.S. labor market has undergone a quiet transformation. Full-time employees are decreasing in number in most industries as they are re-classified to alternative work arrangements. Of fifteen occupational categories, construction is the only one that has not seen a significant rise in alternative work arrangements. The occupational category of management is the only one that has actually seen a decline in alternative work arrangements.           

View the graph for statistics on the rise of alternative work arrangements

The Tesla plant in Fremont, CA doesn’t have a single human being on the manufacturing line, but there are 10,000 humans employed to make sure the machines are running smoothly. Part of the re-assignment of workers is not due to replacement by robots, but related to technologies that support or promote independent contractors, on-call workers, and temps or workers provided by contract firms. There has been a 667% increase in alternative work arrangements since 1995. For the first-time women outnumber men in the category of alternative work arrangements. Due to technology disrupting the workplace, will we see a new hybrid worker classification, something between an employee and a contractor? Time will tell, and for now we will continue to see fierce competition for viable human employees, especially in the construction industry.

Screenshot 2018-02-08 07.56.55

Watch Tesla's robot build the Model 3


NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not too distant future.  Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.