Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

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KEY WORDS: Career Development; Comparative Analysis; Demand Occupations; Economic Factors; Employment Opportunities; Foreign Countries; Global Approach; Globalization; International Trade; Job Skills; Labor Economics; Labor Force Development; Labor Needs; Labor Supply; Skill Development; Skilled Occupations; Skilled Workers; Supply and Demand.

Coleman, M. G. (2003). Job skill and Black male wage discrimination. Social Science Quarterly, 84(4), 892-905.

Objective. Debate over the causes of wage inequality have raised suggestions that, rather than discrimination, skill differences may be the reason for racial wage disparities. The purpose of this research is to examine what impact on-the-job skill differences have on wage inequality. Method. I regress the log wage onto race and a measure of skill. The Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality Employer Survey is particularly useful in this analysis because it contains the employer's evaluation of the worker's relative skill against other workers. Result. When white and black men have the same employer's competitive performance rating, rather than decreasing racial wage differences, the differences actually increase. Conclusion. The wage gap is not a skills gap, but evidence of racial discrimination in the labor market.
KEY WORDS: Employee Skills; Equity (Payment); Income Level; Race and Ethnic Discrimination; Salaries; Blacks; Whites.

Cruikshank, J. (2003). The flexible workforce: Implications for lifelong learning. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 43(1), 8-22.

The globalized economy appears to promote economic insecurity and underemployment. Lifelong learning is increasingly focused on competitive advantage. Adult educators should encourage discussion and debate about the nature of these changes and advocate lifelong learning that benefits the whole person and broader community.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Education Work Relationship; Foreign Countries; Lifelong Learning; Organizational Change; Role of Education; Underemployment.

Crump, B. J., Logan, K. A., & McIlroy, A. (2007). Does gender still matter? A study of the views of women in the ICT industry in New Zealand. Gender, Work and Organization, 14(4), 349-370.

Based on data from in-depth interviews with female information and communication technology professionals from New Zealand's, and a social constructivist framework this paper investigate the women's perceptions of their work place. The results show regional differences in organization type, job category and salaries, as well as in the perceptions of the women towards their environment. Most women did not actively seek to be employed in information and communication technology field. While they enjoyed working in the environment, there was an evident gendering of the workforce with most technical positions being held by men and women working mainly in the softer side of ICT.
KEY WORDS: ICT; Gender; Information Technology; Regional Differences; Attitudes; Culture; Careers.

Cully, M. (2002). The cleaner, the waiter, the computer operator: Job change, 1986-2001. Australian Bulletin of Labour, 28(3), 141-162.

Australian census data were analyzed to determine how the transition to a knowledge economy has altered the character of jobs. Of 340 occupations, 84 declined and 64 doubled in overall employment. Occupations dominated by women and part-time workers grew fastest. The knowledge economy has had ambiguous effects; many workers are underemployed.
KEY WORDS: Demand Occupations; Economic Change; Employment Patterns; Foreign Countries; Labor Market; Labor Needs; Tables (Data); Underemployment.

Culpepper, P. D. (2003). Creating cooperation: How states develop human capital in Europe. Cornell studies in political economy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

This book looks at ways European governments can create changes in institutions that will foster cooperation among states, focusing on company investment in general skills and using data from France and Germany. Chapter one provides a general description of the challenges governments face in developing policies to change company-level vocational training practices. Chapter two contains an analysis of why actors (countries, companies, etc.) have an interest in cooperation. It focuses on the experiences of France and Germany, East German large firms, and French and German small and mid-size firms. Chapter three examines the training behavior of companies in Germany and France and provides an overview of government training program reforms in the two countries, along with the results of training reforms. Chapter four compares the policies of Saxony regarding encouraging apprenticeships with those of neighboring state Saxony-Anhault. Chapter 5 discusses the general failure of French vocational training reform and contrasts it with the success of an association of employers in the Valley of the Arve. Chapter six considers the broader implications of the book's findings for cooperation and policy-making. The book also contains a list of abbreviations, three appendixes, extensive references, and an index.
KEY WORDS: Adult Vocational Education; Apprenticeships; Comparative Education; Cooperative Programs; Economics of Education; Education Work Relationship; Educational Change; Educational Improvement; Foreign Countries; Government Role; Government School Relationship; Human Capital; Industrial Training; International Cooperation; Job Skills; Labor Force Development; Postsecondary Education; Skilled Workers; Small Businesses; Trade and Industrial Education.

de Jong, G. F., & Madamba, A. B. (2001). A double disadvantage? Minority group, immigrant status, and underemployment in the United States. Social Science Quarterly, 82(1), 117-130.

This study documents the magnitude of four types of underemployment experienced by both native-born minority & ethnic immigrant male & female workers in the US & tests a 'double disadvantage' economic outcome hypothesis that minority workers tend to be channeled into secondary-sector jobs & that immigrant workers face initial disadvantages in labor force assimilation. Data for men & women aged 25-64 who are in the labor force & not attending school were derived from the 1990 Census Bureau Public Use Microdata Sample. Multinomial logistic regression procedures were used to estimate the effect of minority group membership & immigrant status on the odds of unemployment, part-time employment, working poverty, & job mismatch, relative to adequate employment. Descriptive results showed greater overall underemployment among females than males. Blacks & Hispanics had higher unemployment & working-poverty rates compared to non-Hispanic Whites & Asians, with job mismatch highest among Asians. Immigrant underemployment was greater than that of the native-born. Asians posted the largest disparity in immigrant vs native-born underemployment, & Blacks had the smallest. Multivariate models showed that minority group effects were stronger than immigrant status effects in predicting underemployment. Increased likelihood of underemployment across the different minority groups vs non-Hispanic White workers was not fully accounted for by the expected influences of human-capital, demographic, industry, & occupational variables. It was concluded that the double disadvantage hypothesis of minority group & immigrant status is accepted only for Asian men & women with jobs mismatched to their skills & for Asian women, who are most likely to be unemployed or be among the working poor.
KEY WORDS: Underemployment; Nativism; Minority Groups; Immigrants; United States of America; Labor Force Participation; Comparative Analysis; Working Class.

de Wolff, A. (2000). Breaking the myth of flexible work: Contingent work in Toronto. A study conducted by the workers project. Toronto: Toronto Organizing for Fair Employment.

A survey of 205 people, 4 group interviews with approximately 30 people, and 6 design and analysis meetings involving approximately 40 people were conducted in a 1999 participatory study of contingent workers in Toronto. (Contingent work was defined to be lower-waged forms of non-permanent work arrangements that include contracting, employment through a temporary agency, sequential short term employment multiple job holding, non-permanent part-time work, and self-employment where the worker does not hire anyone else.) The study found that, despite popular perception of the attractiveness of such "flexible" work arrangements, most contingent workers wanted to break into or rejoin the permanent, core workforce but were prevented from doing so by rules of temporary employment agencies, lack of education, immigration status, or discrimination. These workers received very low wages, had breaks in employment between assignments, worked long days on short notice, and usually lacked benefits such as sick leave, disability, and unemployment insurance. The study determined that the so-called work flexibility is not favored by most contingent workers and is usually a hidden form of unemployment or underemployment. The researchers concluded that increasing the incidence of contingent work may have detrimental long-term consequences for the workers as well as for society as a whole.
KEY WORDS: Adults; Employee Attitudes; Employer Attitudes; Employer Employee Relationship; Employment Patterns; Employment Practices; Employment Services; Equal Opportunities (Jobs); Flexible Working Hours; Fringe Benefits; Immigrants; Job Satisfaction; Job Security; Organizational Development; Part Time Employment; Public Policy; Quality of Working Life; Salary Wage Differentials; Tables (Data); Temporary Employment; Underemployment; Unemployment; Wages; Work Attitudes; Work Environment.

Di Pietro, G. (2002). Technological change, labor markets, and 'low-skill, low-technology traps'. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 69(9), 885-895.

There is evidence that in several European countries in the last decade, the demand for skilled workers did not keep pace with the relative supply, thereby leading to the creation of a large pool of overeducated & underutilized workers. This paper analyzes whether this mismatch can be attributed to a technology-related explanation. According to this hypothesis, pockets of overeducated & underutilized workers stem from firms' inability to reap the benefits associated with a high rate of technological progress because of strict employment protection regulation. Firing restrictions may prevent firms from immediately taking advantage of upward changes in skilled workforce availability & hence they may discourage firms from adopting new technologies. This, in turn, may diminish firms' growth prospects & thereby may reduce the number of vacancies that can be filled with highly skilled workers. Data from the 1995 wave of the European Community Household Panel survey support the hypothesis of technology-related pockets of overeducated & underutilized workers.
KEY WORDS: Supply and Demand; Labor Supply; Employment Opportunities; Occupational Qualifications; Adoption of Innovations; Europe; Technological Change; Education Work Relationship; Underemployment.

Dube, A., & Mercure, D. (1999). New flexibility-based qualification models: Between professionalization and the Taylorization of work. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 54(1), 26-50.

Attempts to identity new forms of job qualification, based on results of a large-scale questionnaire survey conducted among employees of four groups of Quebec manufacturing firms. Focus is on whether Quebec firms are truly searching for flexibility & its potential impact on required worker qualifications. Five forms of flexibility are investigated: financial, technical, organizational, numerical, & functional. Three new qualification models, all based on flexibility, are highlighted: occupational-conceptual, Taylorist, & adroit-analytical. Results reveal that, although employers are increasingly seeking functional flexibility, it does not necessarily follow that job fragmentation & decomposition among certain categories of workers are being abolished. In other words, the argument that Taylorist forms of work are being maintained or reinforced is not incompatible with the position that employers have developed new requirements with regard to work flexibility.
KEY WORDS: Flexibility; Occupational Qualifications; Flexible Specialization; Taylorism; Manufacturing Industries; Employment Change; Work Skills; Quebec.

Elias, P., McKnight, A., & Kinshott, G. (1999). Redefining skill: Revision of the standard occupational classification (SOC2000). Skills task force research paper 19. Nottingham: DfEE.

This paper considers issues relating to the measurement of skill for national statistical purposes. It draws upon the work program and research underlying the revision of the national occupational classification for the United Kingdom (UK), SOC90 (Standard Occupational Classification introduced in 1990). The report's introduction states the intention to reflect upon the review-related research findings; detail the perceived inadequacies of SOC90; describe the problems associated with occupational definition in certain areas; show how the revised classification will affect the analysis of skill change; and cause experts to rethink the forecasts of occupational change. Section 2 presents an overview of the history of occupational classification in the UK. Section 3 describes the conceptual basis of the SOC. Section 4 details the perceived weaknesses in SOC90 and the constraints surrounding the development work undertaken to revise this classification. Section 5 outlines some key processes that were influential in bringing about a redefinition of occupations for statistical purposes. Section 6 discusses the resources that were used to investigate the processes of occupational change from a statistical and definitional perspective. Section 7 examines the revised classification in terms of its ability to distinguish and discriminate between occupations and the new analytical opportunities it will provide. Section 8 concludes that SOC2000 (published in spring 2000) makes better use of its conceptual base, solves problems inadequately dealt with earlier, and provides a better tool for job matching purposes than did SOC90.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Career Guidance; Classification; Developed Nations; Employment Qualifications; Foreign Countries; Job Analysis; Job Skills; Occupational Information; Occupations; Postsecondary Education; Research Problems; Secondary Education; Standard Setting; Statistical Analysis; Vocational Education; United Kingdom.

Elliott, J. R. (2000). Class, race, and job matching in contemporary urban labor markets. Social Science Quarterly, 81(4), 1036-1052.

Recent research on job matching has demonstrated the significance of personal contacts in linking workers to jobs. Few studies, however, have examined how these dynamics vary by class position. I investigate this issue, focusing on nonsearches in addition to formal & informal job matching. Data are drawn from the Multi-City Survey of Urban Inequality, which is based on a random sample of households in Atlanta, Boston, & Los Angeles. Statistical analyses show that job matching varies significantly by class position, with managers more likely to be matched through nonsearches, skilled labor through formal channels, & general labor through personal intermediaries. The analyses also show that differences in racial composition among classes cannot fully explain this variation or its effects on hourly wages. These findings suggest that class position plays a key role in shaping contemporary job matching & merits more detailed attention in future research.
KEY WORDS: Labor Market; Urban Population; Social Networks; Network Analysis; Class Analysis; Employment Opportunities; Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California.

Evetts, J., & Dingwall, R. (2002). Professional occupations in the UK and Europe: Legitimation and governmentality. International Review of Sociology/Revue Internationale de Sociologie, 12(2), 159-171.

Draws on the work of Herbert Spencer & Michel Foucault to examine the rise of the regulatory state in Europe & the implications of the construction of common regulatory regimes for professions. National arrangements are being changed by supranational /international organizations being formed to regulate licensing, training, & educational requirements. The emergence of a European regulatory framework is outlined, & forms of state development associated with professions are examined, maintaining that the EU's increased role represents the shift of sovereignty from member states to the EU. Foucault's (1979) ideas about legitimacy frame a discussion about the legitimacy of both the international profession & the international state. Limitations of the role of law in processes by which professionalism is internationalizing are explored, along with the link between the authority of states & professions in the reproduction of legitimate political & professional power. It is concluded that the changing nature of states & professions represents a redefinition of their functions rather than a decline.
KEY WORDS: Professional Workers; Professional Training; Job Requirements; Certification; Government Regulation; European Economic Community; Legitimacy; Foucault, Michel; Spencer, Herbert.

Fallows, S., & Weller, G. (2000). Transition from student to employee: A work-based programme for "graduate apprentices" in small to medium enterprises. Journal of Vocational Education & Training: The Vocational Aspect of Education, 52(4), 665-685.

The Graduate Apprenticeship Scheme places new college graduates in small and medium-sized enterprises and provides skill development workshops to enhance their employability. Employers thus have a low-risk means of evaluating potential employees and graduates gain experience that helps them avoid underemployment.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; College Graduates; Education Work Relationship; Employment Potential; Entry Workers; Foreign Countries; Job Skills; Small Businesses.

Felstead, A., Gallie, D., & Green, F. (2002). Work skills In Britain 1986-2001. Nottingham, UK: Department for Education and Skills.

This paper gives findings from the 2001 Skills Survey. This survey is a high quality representative survey of working individuals in Britain aged 20-60. It collected a great deal of information about the skills utilised at work, using an innovative methodology that had previously been developed for an earlier survey in 1997. The paper explains how several different aspects of work skill can be measured, and examines the distribution of skills among workers. The report also describes changes that have taken place since 1986, by making comparisons with previous surveys. Finally, the extent to which different types of skills are valued in the labour market is investigated.
KEY WORDS: Discretion; Decision-Making; Occupation; Class Analysis; Skill; Underemployment.

Fernandez, R. M. (2001). Skill-biased technological change and wage inequality: Evidence from a plant retooling. American Journal of Sociology, 107(2), 273-320.

One of the most popular explanations for the increased wage inequality that has occurred since the late 1970s is that technological change has resulted in a downward shift in the demand for low-skill workers. This pattern is also alleged to account for the growth in racial inequality in wages over the same period. This article reports on a case study of the retooling of a food processing plant. A unique, longitudinal, multimethod design reveals the nature of the technological change, the changes in job requirements, & the mechanisms by which the changes affect the wage distribution for hourly production workers. This research finds that, indeed, the retooling resulted in greater wage dispersion & that the changes have also been associated with greater racial inequality in wages. However, contrary to the claims of advocates of the skill-biased hypothesis, organizational & human resources factors strongly mediated the impact of the changing technology. Absent these "high road" organization choices, this impact on wage distribution would have been even more extreme.
KEY WORDS: Technological Change; Employment Changes; Income Inequality; Food Industry; Factories; Income Distribution; Social Inequality; Racial Differences; Work Skills; Midwestern States.

Fine, S., & Nevo, B. (2007). A phenomenon of overqualification in personnel psychology. International Journal of Testing, 7(4), 327-352.

This study examines the concept of overqualification in three different job contexts (military, academic, and industrial). According to this study, overqualified persons maintain above-average performance, rather than having low performance as was previously hypothesized. The findings raise possible concerns for traditional ranking procedures and for possible overestimations in the validity and utility test scores.
KEY WORDS: Scores; Qualifications; High Achievement; Employment Qualifications; Personnel Evaluation; Job Performance.

Flynn, N. T. (2003). The differential effect of labor market context on marginal employment outcomes. Sociological Spectrum, 23(3), 305-330.

By employing a new structuralist approach & focusing on the area opportunity structure, along with the traditional human capital framework, I link both the local labor market context & individual qualities that affect employment outcomes (Browne 1997; Cotter et al 1997; McCall 2000). In this article, I examine the effect of contextual factors, specifically the area levels of occupational sex-segregation & the size of the service sector industry, on men & women's marginal employment outcomes during the early 1990s. Several findings stand out. First, women post higher chances of working for low wages than their male counterparts. However, employment in the expanding service sector does reduce men & women's chances of experiencing part-time work. Second, the protection afforded by individual-level, human capital qualities remains relatively constant for women across metro areas, but labor market context significantly affects women's odds of employment marginalization. Context is not as salient for men, but the value of their personal attributes vary across labor markets. Finally, women working in areas with higher levels of occupational sex segregation were relatively worse off than those in areas with more integration.
KEY WORDS: Labor Market; Occupational Segregation; Service Industries; Employment; Part Time Employment; Wages; Human Capital; Sex Differences; Opportunity Structures; Working Women; Working Men; United States of America.

Frenette, M. (2000). Overqualified? Recent graduates and the needs of their employers. Education Quarterly Review, 7(1), 6-20.

This article focuses on co-op studies. At the college level, co-op graduates are generally just as likely to be overqualified as non-co-op graduates. Graduates of co-op studies at the bachelor's level are typically less prone to overqualification than graduates of non-co-op bachelor's programs, while master's graduates and master's co-op graduates have roughly equal rates. Reliable results for doctoral graduates are not available because of low sample sizes. The rates of overqualified graduates by region are based on the region's needs for skilled workers, as well as the desire of skilled workers to live in the region. An economically stagnant region may require very few skilled workers, and this would tend to increase the rate of overqualification. However, the region's skilled workers may choose to move to more prosperous regions where their skills may be in greater demand. The result is that the mobility of workers tends to reduce regional disparities in rates of overqualification.
KEY WORDS: Job Skills; Postsecondary Graduates; Employment; Statistics; Work and Learning.

Frenette, M. (2004). The overqualified Canadian graduate: The role of the academic program in the incidence, persistence, and economic returns to overqualification. Economics of Education Review, 23(1), 29-45.

This study investigates the role of academic program in the incidence, persistence and economic returns to over-qualification among recent Canadian post-secondary graduates. Analysis of the National Graduate Survey, 1982, 1986 and 1990 shows that over one-third of Canadian graduates are over-qualified for their job shortly after graduation in the early 1980s and show little improvement in the years following graduation. The rate of over-qualification has diminished somewhat in the 1980s and 1990s. This finding may go against the popular belief that recent graduates have not fared so well in the labour market. Academic program is strongly related to over-qualification-more than half of all graduates of masters programs are over-qualified for their main job-even five years after graduating. There is a strong negative earnings penalty associated with over-qualification at the college and bachelor's level but is moderate or non-existent at upper levels. These earnings penalties are generally overstated in cross-sectional earnings models, most of which dissipates after accounting for unobserved heterogeneity in a longitudinal context.
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