It is often hard to now what is driving change, but it's almost certain that it's coming. Every day it seems that the economy rolls on like an enormous metal wheel crushing all establishments in its path. New efficiencies are borne of the subversion of the old ways of doing "business". Things that used to seem necessary are replaced when they become too expensive or those who relied on them are no longer deemed as valuable as they once were.
One evident example of this comes in the form of the traditional salaried employee. I feel like there can be two factors contributing to this unprecedented shift. The first possible factor would be the turning wheel which I mentioned earlier. It is more cost-effective for companies concerned with their bottom lines and shareholder interests to only have hourly-rate employees without the need to provide them with benefits.
The other factor which may be influencing the decision to move to contractors is the need for specialized knowledge. Whether it's through expanding international competition or the advance of technology, jobs are becoming increasingly complex. Positions which used to be handled by multiple individuals are now under a single umbrella description. Small organizations have given way to large conglomerates where each department can consist of hundreds or thousands of employees with each being assigned a very particular task.
To be honest, the true cause of the move to contract employees is very complex and it cannot be written off to a number of factors. However, employees do have more tools at their disposal than ever to cobble together benefits which will match their needs even if they are not offered through the company. Hopefully legislation and employers will also catch up to this ted and realize these workers need as much assistance as their permanent employees and deserve as much attention even if hey are only temporary. In the end, even temporary employees work harder and more efficiently when they feel they are valued.