In the US, the three largest pieces that contribute to a healthy society are tied to full time employment: financial stability, health coverage, and opportunities for education. As the labor landscape shifts more to part time and contract work, it creates a gap for the 1099 and part time workers seeking these services.
Full time employers attract and retain talent by offering easy access to or subsidized plans for the following:
- Health programs: health insurance, disability, workers compensation
- Financial programs: 401k, transportation reimbursement, equity as a non-accredited investor, pensions, stock options
- Training and education: education reimbursement, on-the-job training, specialized skills, learn and earn programs
- Family benefits: child care or reimbursement, paid leave, paid sick leave
Access to these benefits is lost or limited if you are not employed in a traditional full time job. Though government will continue to play a role in providing access to benefits, we believe the more interesting opportunity is for tech entrepreneurs to fill this gap with a profitable and sustainable business to continue to meet changing needs.
The existing market offerings for individuals to patch together benefits, insurance, and financial services are difficult to navigate and still rely largely on paper to set up. Even tools that only cater to full time employees are stuck in a web 1.0 model. The path to change will likely involve many separate players focused on niche services.
A great example in healthcare is Oscar Health. They set out to change the way people obtain health insurance by making it easier to understand and sign up for. They began with a more bottom up approach by selling to individuals first, before they expanded to selling a B2B product. This approach ensured that they were satisfying the needs of individuals, full time employees or not, before expanding to serve employees of large enterprises. They started with any individual before offering a product exclusively for W2 employees.
Finding ways to make it easier for more people to access these outside of their employment creates a powerful way to serve a population that have the potential to be more loyal to your service than they are to one employer. Already Millennial and Gen Y employees are reported to have 45% job turnover, representing a low percentage of employer loyalty. There is a huge market to be served.
Better online tools, easier administration, and leveraging data across a broad group of customers is still missing for many of these services. Entrepreneurs passionate about the need to serve part-time and contract employees have a lot of room to provide tech-enabled services and build a big business. Those superior solutions may end up creating better alternatives for W2 workers as well. Better tech in employment services and benefits is a win for everyone.