An Occupational Perspective
Edited by Werner Eichhorst and Paul Marx
Chapter 11: Understanding occupational differences in flexibilisation and mobility patterns in Europe: do institutions matter?
The trend of flexibilisation at the margins, the ultimate consequence of increased international competition and globalisation, is in the literature associated with the erosion of internal labour markets (Schmid and Gazier, 2002), the shift from an industrial to a post-industrial or service economy and the shift from a manager’s economy to an entrepreneurial economy (Audretsch and Thurik, 2000). Flexibilisation encompasses the departure from lifetime employment and a growth in shares of non-standard fixed-term and temp-agency jobs allowing employers to better adapt to economic shocks. It leads therefore to more frequent moves between employers, sectors and even occupations or professions during people’s career. This shift signals a rather fundamental change that has been paraphrased as a shift from lifetime employment to the ‘boundary-less career’ (Stone, 2005). It means that workers more frequently need to switch jobs, but the increased mobility is likely to be unevenly spread across the jobs distribution because it confronts particular occupational groups more than others. In this chapter we examine the flexibilisation and mobility patterns by occupational group, notably the upward mobility chances within occupational levels from insecure into secure employment. Not only are these mobility rates unevenly spread across occupations but also across the various labour markets. More regulated countries show higher levels of temporary labour as well as lower levels of upward mobility from outsider into insider jobs than less regulated or coordinated countries (see also Ryan, 2001). Hence, flexibilisation, occupational segregation and mobility patterns are associated.
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