Workforce Ecosystems and AI Research Report | The Brookings Institution

Workforce Trends

As the number of contingent workers (e.g., contractors, freelancers, professional services workers, etc.) continues to expand in many organizations, HR leaders play a critical role in helping their firms manage and coordinate their workforce as an ecosystem of both external contributors and internal employees. This challenge is magnified given the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on how work gets delivered and by whom. This new and in-depth report explores the intersection of workforce ecosystems and AI and the implications for 1) Designing Work, 2) Supplying Workers, 3) Conducting Work, and 4) Measuring Work and Workers. While there are too many insights to summarize from this report, one point made in the “design work” section is how advancements in AI and the growth of the contingent workforce provide opportunities for firms to critically evaluate how they organize work beyond jobs—a topic discussed heavily by John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan in their book Work Without Jobs: How to Reboot Your Organization’s Work Operating System (March 29, 2022). This tactic involves disaggregating existing jobs into tasks and determining how those tasks can be best delivered through various aspects of a workforce ecosystem, including internal employees, external contributors, and AI. Since this practice is new for many organizations, I am resharing this bonus article by Gartner that provides ideas for assessing a role’s “composability”—the degree to which it can be broken down into tasks.