5 Ways Corporate America Is Changing – For Better Or Worse

Once upon a time, if you were a corporate worker, you were usually there for life, putting in your 20 or 30 years and then retiring with your pension and gold watch. But the face of Corporate America has changed and evolved, and seems to be turning into something else entirely.

With the advent of social media, advances in technology and efficient ways to manage employees sans face time, the world has grown very small.

Corporations often seek workers from more far-flung locales, and more employees are demanding a workplace that allows for flextime, reduced hours or telecommuting.

As these changes become more mainstream, what does this mean for Corporate America as whole, and how will it affect our future workforce? Here are five ways Corporate America is changing.

More Telecommuters and Flex Schedules

Many companies now offer their employees perks like flexible schedules and telecommuting, giving them the opportunity for a better work-life balance. Companies such as Care.com have more than 200 work-from-home employees, and Home Shopping Network offers many employees flex work schedules.

Other companies have implemented job sharing, where two employees divide a 40-hour workweek between them, as well as compressed workweeks where employees work a longer day in exchange for an equally long weekend.

More Overseas Workers

As more employers seek out freelance workers who can be hired on a contract basis, they may also seek out overseas employees, who are often willing to work for a lower hourly rate. Approximately 57 million Americans work in the freelance market, with average yearly earnings of about $65,000 for those who work full-time.

That could change, however, as more companies hire freelancers based in lower-income countries. With an increase of online job marketplaces, people living in more remote countries can now apply for the same jobs as their American counterparts, often at a lower wage.

Fewer Defined Pensions

Up until the mid-to-late 1980s, most businesses offered pensions to their employees. Almost 88 percent of workers had a pension of some kind and anticipated a secure retirement in exchange for their years of hard work.

Today, very few companies have defined pension programs and, with more and more employees opting for part-time or freelance work, those benefits are likely to continue to drop. Contract employees or those who utilize flex time can also be shut out of any company pension programs that do exist, as many require a minimum amount of work hours per week or month in order to qualify.

Fewer Health Benefits

While there is a certain freedom in freelancing, telecommuting or working part-time, there can also be downsides when it comes to benefits. Some states do require businesses to provide health insurance for all of their employees, even those who work part-time, but many others do not.

Companies may offer you flex hours and freelance contracts, giving you more freedom and time, but in the exchange you sacrifice benefits such as paid health care or vacation time.

Better Mentoring and Networking Programs

The days of Corporate America being part of the “good ol’ boys” club are fading, and that means not only more opportunities for women, people of color or LGBTQ individuals, but more chances for mentoring and networking.

Businesses see the need for programs that empower their employees, and offer initiatives that promote workers who were formerly marginalized in the corporate world. Companies such as Gap, PayPal and Wyndham Hotels provide special mentoring programs for female employees, all intended to help women ascend the corporate ladder.

Like America itself, the face of Corporate America is changing. It is more unique than ever before, with diverse needs and varied facets. As our world continues to shrink and as we continue to expand our knowledge and understanding of that world, we can only hope that Corporate America will grow and expand with us.