The End of Employees – WSJ

Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ fewer people. From Google to Wal-Mart, the outsourcing boom is cutting costs for firms and job security for millions of workers.

Source: The End of Employees – WSJ

I told my children when they were leaving education that they would be well advised to look for customers not bosses.

It’s been exactly seven years since I read Charles Handy’s The Age of Unreason.  And if you are familiar with Handy’s work the WSJ’s article should not come as a surprise.  The surprise is how long it has taken for companies to figure out how to outsource effectively.

I hope you read books.

Remote Life Insurance Underwriters Jobs – Ketterling Group – Charlotte, NC |

There seem to be more life underwriting positions opening up around the industry.  But as I suspected, there are some disturbing trends entering our business and profession.  The ad below is pulled from  The bold highlights are mine.  These positions are part-time positions.  Compensation is fee based.

To say this disturbs me would be an understatement.

Remote Life Insurance Underwriters job – Ketterling Group –Charlotte, NC |

Remote Life Insurance Underwriters
Ketterling Group – Charlotte, NC
  • Position is eligible for remote work.

Our client is the market leader in medical information services that help our clients make informed decisions and improve the lives of those they serve.

About the opportunity: Our client’s Underwriting Department is seeking experienced Life and LTC Underwriters to do medical summarizations, as well as provide full underwriting, quick quotes and support other lines of underwriting business. This is a part-time (fee based) 30 – 35 hour a week position Monday – Friday. Plus, weekends and overtime as business needs demand. There is opportunity for growth into salaried positions.

Professional Abilities:
Proven track record of critical thinking capabilities
Commitment to excellence while maintaining required productivity levels
Ability to think ‘outside the box’ and determine areas of process improvements
Focused on continued education and professional growth
Team player and detail oriented

5+ years of life underwriting in a home office environment
Proven ability to work in a virtual office setting
Must be able to work independently and efficiently
Knowledgeable in Microsoft Office products
Well versed in internet applications
Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Strong computer skills, including the ability to work with multiple systems
Undergraduate degree and/or equivalent professional work experience
Completion of insurance related coursework and/or accreditations 
CareerBuilder – 1 day ago

TaskRabbit Confirms Layoffs – TechCrunch

The company started as a purely consumer-focused product to let regular people outsource their odd jobs and tasks to others, but it has indeed been increasing its focus on the enterprise space in recent months.

via TaskRabbit Confirms Layoffs As It Realigns To Focus On Mobile And Enterprise | TechCrunch.

Regular people don’t outsource errands and odd jobs.

Expense reduction will only postpone the inevitable.

How Do We Keep Contingent Workers From Jumping Ship? – Dear Workforce

My company provides staffing services to the manufacturing industry. Contingent workers historically have a high turnover rate. My motivation is to get these people to stay on assignments longer and be more productive, thus increasing my client’s return on investment. What can we do?

via How Do We Keep Contingent Workers From Jumping Ship? – Dear Workforce – Workforce.

The situation above is an actual scenario and the question posed is real.  The individual asking the question is in Human Resources and an executive at the VP level.  My initial reaction was disbelief.  Check out the entire article.  The answer given was pretty decent.


American Family Information Services – 87 Layoffs – Insurance Networking News

The company has reduced its total workforce by 730 positions, or almost 10 percent, over the past four years, mainly by attrition.

via American Family Information Services Department Incurs 87 Layoffs – Insurance Networking News.

Short articles like this make me wonder what’s really happening.  We don’t know the total number of staff in the company’s IT department so we cannot know what percentage of the entire staff was affected.  So I went online and found the following:

The cut positions included 85 people based at the company headquarters at 6000 American Parkway and its other Madison location, off Milwaukee Street, plus two people outside Madison. There are 850 people remaining in the company’s information services division, making the job reductions equal to about a 10 percent cut there.

So now we know the IT department was 937 before the layoffs.  Hmmm….

Free Expert Advice

Free Small Business Software Alternatives

Underwriting Solutions LLC

A couple of years ago I drafted a consulting proposal for a bunch of investors interested in starting a new life insurance company.  The investors didn’t want to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, so I drafted a proposal that emphasized outsourcing and the use of cloud based software services that were either extremely low-cost or in some cases, free.  I wrote:

The creation and implementation of a low-cost distributed collaborative workforce offers the new company an additional distinct competitive advantage in the industry… The new company will not be constrained by legacy systems, outdated processes, or asset quality issues.  We will create an administrative infrastructure built upon low-cost world-class services furnished by companies with a proven track record of success.  This simplified example shows how quickly and inexpensively a customized group of outsourcing partners can be assembled to provide core administrative services for the new company.

Since that time I have wanted to update my list of free software services but now I don’t have to. Stephen Murphy of getbusy media wrote a great little article which can be accessed though the link above.  The other link is just something else I’ve been playing with.

And for the curious, no I did not get the gig two years ago.


Remote Work – Who Are Those Guys?

What are the Top 10 nations for online workers? / The Christian Science Monitor –

And the fastest-growing major economy for freelance work?

The United States. “We’re seeing a huge number of Americans come online,” says Brian Goler, vice president of marketing for oDesk. “More and more people are working this way.”

Perhaps they have to because of the economic downturn. Perhaps they want to.