Keep your coworkers close and your contractors closer.

Michael Cata
pubslished on
6 December 2019

Two decades of economic data never mapped before lends insights into who you might be sitting next to and who might take your seat.

George Bush Sr. hated broccoli. Healthy eating aside, this created a problem for the White House kitchen staff. Hans Raffert the executive chef must have asked himself, "What do we serve with steak?"

That’s a hard decision when you think about the constraints. They need a vegetable to serve with the main, but it needs to complement the other sides. You wouldn’t want to serve mushy baked eggplant if mashed potatoes are already on the plate.

Managers of large organizations face a version of this problem every day. For example, you are building a hospital, what types of people do you need to keep the facility maintained and secure? If my chemical plant’s top statistician moves to another country, who can replace her skills on the team? Who all is affected by that departure?

Detailed, firm-level datasets on these intimate, strategic choices are hard to find. Companies rarely publish that calculus with their own teams, let alone competitors or the public.

Thankfully, we have good data for the major industry sectors of the American economy. The problem: the supply chain input spending gets tracked by a different government agency than the breakdown of occupational categories.

We crosswalked that data to build a more complete and detailed composition of American occupational economics. The result is a dataset that contains insight into how, on average, organizations replace or complement their employees’ skills with contractors or other employee hires.

Take a spin for yourself.

You work as a in the industry.