by Jason Snell
Janitors, then and now
This is an interesting story from the Upshot at the New York Times about the rise of corporate outsourcing to contractors. It’s notable here because the story, by Neil Irwin, uses Apple as its present-day example, but I’d expect you would find the same at most corporations:
In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.
While it’s indisputable that Apple uses contractors for a lot of work — not just its janitors but many other jobs that are important to Apple but apparently not important enough to impart the full benefits of being an Apple employee — I think it’s worth pointing out that there are still a lot of ancillary jobs that do carry the benefits of being an Apple employee, most notably in retail.