Aging and Working in the New Economy

Aging and Working in the New Economy

Changing Career Structures in Small IT Firms

Edited by Julie Ann McMullin and Victor W. Marshall

The case studies and analyses developed in this timely book provide insight into the structural features of small and medium-sized firms in the information technology sector, and the implications of these features for the careers of people who are employed by them.

Chapter 9: Flexibility/Security Policies and the Labor Market Trajectories of IT Workers

Martin Cooke and Kerry Platman

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, social policy and sociology, ageing


Martin Cooke and Kerry Platman INTRODUCTION In recent years public policy thought in Europe, and to a lesser extent in North America, has struggled to cope with two interrelated phenomena. Economic changes including the increase in international flows of goods, capital, and labor have presented problems for promoting the competitiveness of national firms and industry in global markets. The other trend, the demographic aging of the populations in these countries, has caused concern about the potential implications of a smaller and older labor force. Since the late 1980s, countries have attempted to mobilize labor and increase productivity by changing the structure of social provision. Income replacement programs that absorbed surplus labor in the 1980s have been restructured to reduce their rolls and to encourage work. The precise changes have been very political and country-specific, but in general there has been a focus on ‘active’ labor market policies and measures to improve labor force flexibility by increasing firms’ ability to set the conditions of work. Recently there have been attempts to create a policy framework that balances this flexibility with workers’ rights to security and protection. The research program on ‘flexicurity’ (Wilthagen, 2002; Tros, 2004) and the ‘transitional labor markets’ (TLM) approach of Günter Schmid (Schmid, 2001, 2006) represent the most well-known of these efforts, which are much better developed in Europe than in the North American welfare states. Although the flexicurity and TLM projects were not developed primarily to address the aging of populations and labor forces, they may...

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