Eli Lilly: Land of consultants

Dateline: Thu 06 Dec 2007

The Star's breaking news that Eli Lilly Co. will be cutting 1,000 jobs comes as no surprise to those with an ear to the ground.

Over time, I've gotten insider dope that Lilly is basically turning away from hiring full-time employees with benefits -- who cost a bundle -- and instead going the consultant route. That means they hire contractors, just like our friends in India and abroad do. You can read all about it, if you have not already, in Thomas L. Friedman's book, "The World Is Flat."

Globalization coming to Indy is not exactly news, but the way the area's most generous benefator does its business is. How will Lilly's new strategies affect the city and state?

Here's what Lilly big cheese Sid Taurel says, from the Star: ..."the company would create greater value by 'fundamentally transforming the way we are organized and the way we work.'"

OK, all you people who are smarter than me. What does it mean? I hope the Star will show us the man behind the curtain, but in the meantime, if you have any insights, please give it up.

By the way, I am the proud mother of two former consultants, both of whom were happy to be offered real jobs with benefits. Being a consultant may be fine for the world's cowboys, but it's not the path up the company ladder. Altho that route may no longer exist: we may just have the big fat golden-parachute execs at the top, and the wormy little consultants swarming around at the bottom. Another blow to the middle class? Or is this too much rhetoric?

You tell me.

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