Aging and Working in the New Economy
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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.
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Chapter 5: Employment Relations and the Wage: How Gender and Age Influence the Negotiating Power of IT Workers

Elizabeth Brooke


Elizabeth Brooke NEW ECONOMY EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS AND BACKGROUND Introduction This chapter is concerned with how the wage is negotiated in New Economy information technology (IT) firms. It examines processes of negotiation of compensation embedded within the employment relationship between employers and IT workers and compares case study firms across three countries: Australia, Canada and the United States. Within the information economy, the employment relationship is shaped by factors intrinsic to firms, including how knowledge-intensive work is performed and rewarded within labor processes, firms’ organizational practices and extrinsic institutional factors, including legal and regulatory frameworks and the global context of the IT labor market. As Benner (2002: 29) notes: ‘The implications of the employment relationship have a much more visible, immediate and direct impact on the livelihoods of workers, since it fundamentally shapes compensation.’ Macro-level processes linking globalization, deregulation and individualization have repercussions on employment relationships at the firm level. Employment relationships in IT firms are shaped by globalization imperatives for constant skills transformations (see Chapters 6 and 7 for more detail on the upgrading skills demands in the industry) and stepped-up demands for productivity (Beck, 2006; Benner, 2002; Castells, 2000). IT firms are restructuring due to globally driven market forces which consequently demand rapid accommodations by labor forces. New forms of labor processes and working time are influencing compensation in ways that are little understood. Deregulation is a characteristic of New Economy employment relations 88 How gender and age influence negotiating power 89 and entails devolution of wage negotiation from...

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