Start Up Blog

The white collar reality

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 13, 2009

It was easy for white collar workers to be smug during the 1980’s. Their blue collar counterparts faced a dire future as hands on jobs increasingly went overseas to low cost labour markets. It even made it possible for information workers to extract larger salaries as the profitability of their organizations soared. The white collar desk jockey rode the wave of efficiency as corporations globalized and consolidated manufacturing.

The art of Tailoring

Life has a funny way of going full circle. And now it’s our turn, the white collar worker. We are also an endangered species in developed markets.

Yep, you and me. We too, will be outsourced. All us accountants, IP Lawyers, Engineers, Computer Programmers (insert university educated profession here).

Don’t believe me? Then consider this: In India each year there are over 300,000 Engineering graduates and over 400,000 IT graduates who will happily work for 10% of what conglomerate X pays you right now. It’s only a matter of time before large corporations, who are usually struggling for top line growth, can get over the emotional barrier of having a large corporate head office and go offshore. The spreadsheet will make that decision for them. But this time the barriers will be lower than when all the call center went overseas because consumers wont even notice. Society wont care either. They are sick of people earning well above average incomes in ivory towers. No one will feel sorry for us.

Micro outsourcing as provided by Elance, Odesk and Guru for entrepreneurs is just the test case. The head office is next.

What to do?

Stop being a factor of production and start organizing them. Stuff gets done, things can be built, and anything which is done at a desk is about to disappear to low cost labour markets. The way information workers can survive is through undertaking entrepreneurial endeavors (corporate & private). Be able to manage complex projects and by managing situations and people, not doing stuff. The age of the entrepreneur is about to become something which is so significant it changes work just like the industrial revolution did.

Startup blog says: Are you ready?

Get ready at Startup School.

Startup School

2 Responses

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  1. [...] entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 15, 2009 As a follow up to my last post on The White Collar Reality here is a simple Slide Share presentation as a thought starter of why it matters, and what is [...]

  2. TJ said, on December 8, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Sans the smugness line in the intro, I agree with every word said particularly on what to do next. Journal articles on the topic continually wax poetic on Adam Smith and David Ricardo (absolute and comparative advantage operating as anticipated) but the typical message for the workers caught up in this snarl is to simply wait for that next thing/job to materialize. Directing individuals toward entrepreneurial efforts and, if an individual wants to stay in the corporate arena, project management type positions are safer bets.


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