The Changing Nature of Work: Amplifying the Voice of the Financially Vulnerable Worker

The Changing Nature of Work: Amplifying the Voice of the Financially Vulnerable Worker

For many people, the nature of work is in flux. All indications are that the Traditional full-time job with one employer will continue to become less common as other work arrangements flourish. Those Non-Traditional alternatives are themselves evolving rapidly. To increase knowledge about how these changes are being experienced by the financially vulnerable (annual household income under $55,000), Commonwealth conducted a review of current research and then engaged with over a thousand workers nationwide through a survey, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and online. By giving voice to lower-wage people living the changing nature of work, we learn better how to support them in building their financial security and opportunity.

One of the challenges of doing this research is definitional. Given the ongoing changes in the types of work arrangements, how do we define the different types of work arrangements and what terminology do we use to describe them? In this paper, we have chosen to identify 3 broad categories: Freelancers, Traditional, and Non-Traditional, which includes people who work at temp agencies, gig platforms, and are sub-contracted workers. For a full definition of these categories please read “The Impact of Work Arrangements on Worker Identity.”

We have released four briefs highlighting key findings. Two research papers detail methodologies and additional findings. Individual quotes and stories employ pseudonyms.

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