Automation pushes us towards self-employment
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Freelance work often seems like a dream to most, but with the start of the automation of traditional jobs and the evolution of the gig economy, we can move towards a new normal where self-employment is a traditional path. . I dreamed of becoming an inventor, of building “things” that would solve the world’s problems, and entrepreneurship ended up serving as a channel to be that builder. But for a lot of people my age, self-employment is more than a dream, it’s a survival tool. Oddly enough, automation has made self-employment both possible and necessary for millions of people.
Rather than relying on human labor, we’ve been able to make various processes faster, cheaper, and less error-prone through automation – whether it’s flipping burgers and self-pay, or AI writers and digital robots. However, all good things come at a price. The reduced need for human labor – combined with the increase in the world’s population – has reduced the pool of “good” jobs. That is, jobs that pay a living wage and provide the kind of perks people want.
In the United States, this issue has become a source of division, with most people falling into one of two camps. On the one hand, you have people who argue that the jobs are still there; they allege that people are just too lazy, picky or allowed to take them. Then you have the people who argue that the jobs are gone and the positions that are left are not paying enough for people to live decent lives.
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There is some truth to both sides. The Washington Post recently noted that in September 2021, there were approximately 8.4 million Americans unemployed and 10 million vacant positions. At a time when supply chains are hanging by a thread, the country is grappling with a pandemic, and individuals and businesses alike need cash, the question is why this is happening. The numbers show that the jobs are still there and people choose not to take them or that they are underqualified. However, a simple cost-benefit analysis of these jobs shows that they are simply not worth the effort for most Americans. Why? Because wages are low, working conditions are poor, and in an age when remote and concert work are extremely popular, why settle for a low-paying job?
Before Covid-19 was ever on our radar, automation took people away from traditional 9-5 jobs. Not only did it decrease the need for human labor, it also changed the way work is done. When you can accomplish a task with the push of a virtual button, it opens the door for employees to work remotely. The commercial push for automation, combined with the effects of the pandemic, has led companies of all sizes to allow more and more workers to do their jobs from home.
However, millions of Americans weren’t so lucky. Sectors like retail, hospitality and construction do not have so many viable paths to follow. After all, we just haven’t found a way to automate every type of work. Therefore, companies in these industries can either try to automate as best they can, thereby eliminating jobs altogether, or encourage workers to keep coming to work as they always have. The former leaves more people unemployed, while the latter leaves workers less satisfied and, at least in the context of a pandemic, more exposed.
Therefore, automation has had the odd effect of pushing people into self-employment in more ways than one. Process automation reduces the number of jobs available at all levels while making it easier for employees to work remotely. This has made non-distant jobs much less attractive to the modern job seeker.
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What does all of this have to do with self-employment? Ultimately, people have to find a way to pay their bills or risk losing their savings, homes and potentially more. If the jobs do not exist or are undesirable, what is the solution? Create your own job!
This is a factor that many people overlook when it comes to automation. The term itself often conjures up images of giant assembly lines, corporate initiatives and large-scale operations. Automation isn’t just for large companies, however; it also works for individuals by allowing them to work alone. When companies cannot offer what people want or need, self-employment becomes the only real alternative.
It’s not just a guess, either. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 15 million Americans were self-employed in 2015. This meant that just over 10% of all workers in the United States were self-employed. Fast forward to 2019 (before the pandemic) and self-employment rate increased to around 28%. Some have disputed the latter figure, but 14% of those workers saw self-employment as their main source of income that year, implying that an additional 1% of the national workforce – or about $ 1. 5 million people – opt for self-employment. job with each passing year.
Although there are many reasons, many people simply choose freelance work because automation is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes jobs rarer and non-distant jobs less attractive; on the other hand, it makes it easier than ever to create your own work as a freelance writer, entrepreneur or entrepreneur. Automation doesn’t just mean it’s easier to work, it’s also easier to create your own.
Leaders and politicians will continue to debate stagnant wages and scarcity of jobs, but it’s automation that drives us toward ubiquitous self-employment. This is a change that has been brewing for years. As technology continues to advance at an increasingly rapid pace, so do automated tools. This means that self-employment will likely continue to increase even faster in the future.
In the age of widespread digitization, people want to work from anywhere, and rightly so. They also want to work for a living wage, with reasonable hours, and the opportunity to grow and move forward. Self-employment gives them the power to do it when many traditional jobs fall short. But the question remains: how long will it take for businesses, supply chains and even governments to adjust to a society in which self-employment is the new normal?