My Pispective on the Precariat and the Public Sector

public service management Gig Economy Precariat

(A pispective is when you write about something using only 314 words)

There is a large and growing group of people in the world who comprise the precariat. Their work situation is unstable and they lack the unifying narrative that secure work provides. They are paid by the hour and lack additional support such as pensions or sick leave. Finding themselves outside the work + experience + education equation, they find it increasingly hard to maintain identity as citizens.

Every time we see an Uber demonstration, we are looking at members of the precariat. But it's a mistake to shake our fist at Uber. After all, Uber is an expression of where the market is at and the market is an expression of society, of which we are a part. Labouring in an in-demand world is hardly an empowering existence.

People thinking about the profession of management confront at every turn the loss of purpose within large organizations. But this losing of our way at scale is surely less than the societal wide issues of so many people confronting the vagaries of episodic employment.

The gig economy which fuels much of the success enjoyed by the digital darlings of entrepreneurial capitalism does provide opportunities to some on the supply side. And it's being driven on the demand side so isn't going away any time soon.

There is a polarity to the precariat. It's, perhaps unsurprisingly, called the salariat. It's the group of people who receive regular salaries. They have regular employment, pensions, holiday leave and other advantages. In the modern world, getting onto the salariat seems a smart move.

But what of the public sector? If the public sector is comprised mainly of a comfortable salariat and the public itself is comprised increasingly of an uncomfortable salariat, can public servants truly say they 'know the customer?' I think it unlikely.

If we continue to hire the way we do, will we make things better or worse?

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