Andrew Karpie is a research analyst at Azul Partners/Spend Matters and is one of the most respected individuals in the workforce management/procurement labor space. As the business environment continues to evolve at a rapid pace, people are left wondering, ‘what’s next?’ For insight into the industry Forbes interviewed Karpie for a piece that ran at the end of November.
One of the main areas Karpie touched on was how platforms like Uber and Upwork will change the way business is done. Overall, 90% of firms utilize some kind of freelance or contracted talent, increasingly through digital or remote means.
“What I call online ‘work intermediation platforms’ have begun to have very significant and visible impacts throughout the economy — that is, enabling new ways of arranging work and conducting it,” Karpie told Forbes. “We are going from a place where work arrangements established between workers, businesses, and consumers were barely intermediated by technology to one where technology supports the intermediation, often 100% with end-to-end-platforms like Upwork and Uber.”
Basically, technology is beginning to take the place of the middleman for these kinds of workers. Instead of reporting to a manager of some kind, all an Uber driver or Upwork user has to do is grab their phone or laptop and start finding work to do.
The biggest advantage Karpie sees with the new digital platforms is that specific talent and skills will be easier for businesses to find in many ways. The downside to this is figuring out how to efficiently utilize, compensate, and ultimately classify these types of workers going forward.
As far as robots go, Karpie understands the fear of automation but believes there are new sectors that might have to worry about such things as opposed to the traditional production workers.
“Technology has advanced to include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing, which can replace people in white collar jobs,” Karpie said. “I think the bigger issue is going to be: When new work opportunities are created, who will be trained and capable of doing what needs to be done, and where will they be?”