Many times when people think about the nature of “work” or working in general, an image is conjured up in your head based on popular culture ideas and notions, or what we see on television. Someone walks to their car with their briefcase, commutes to an office, and spends their day in an office or cubicle. Most software technology solutions, and large amounts of investment capital are dedicated to these “knowledge workers” and ways to solve their problems or make them more productive.
But this image is far removed from reality. It’s estimated that 80% of the global working population does not sit at a desk every day. When you begin to add up the occupations and industries where this is true, it’s easier to realize vast size of this workforce.
- The Gig Economy
- Transportation and Trucking
- Doctors, nurses, and lab technicians
Even though the professions represented here account for the majority of the workforce, they are given extremely pejorative names like “desk-less” or “non-desk” workers. It’s as if not having a desk makes someone “less.” Words and labels can be powerful, and the men and women in those industries are the hardest hit by the 2020 recession. They also keep the wheels of our economy moving. The people represented by those jobs are the foundation of our economy, which is why we prefer to called them the foundational workforce.
The next time you see a member of the foundational workforce, hopefully you see them with a new perspective and sense of appreciation.