We at CSID are often wondering about and trying to prepare for the Future of the University.
This blog piece is highly political. I felt the need to post it. Not because I am or anyone else at CSID is in political agreement with the poster. Rather because his examination of how for-profit enterprises come to create jobs mirrors so much the current mindset in the academy about instructors and even staff:
Demand for what a business sells – that’s what creates jobs, or at least, it can. Only if there is unmet demand in the market for what a business sells will the business owner(s) contemplate hiring someone to help fill the demand, but that’s not the first thing they will try. This can be understood by reference to the fact that labor costs are nearly always the biggest drain on the bottom line profitability of a business. Indeed, all the incentives line up against hiring someone for a real, decent-paying, full-time position with adequate benefits unless all other options for meeting unmet demand have first been exhausted. And there are plenty of options for the business owner.
First, they will try to increase the productivity of their existing work force. Higher quotas, longer hours. Then they might turn to technology – automation, software, and such, to boost productivity. If that’s not sufficient and they need more actual human labor, they may try to outsource that labor abroad, where it costs much less. Failing that, they will take on temps, hire people as independent contractors, and/or hire only part-timers to avoid having to pay benefits. They will push out older, more experienced workers to offset the cost of younger new hires.