Handbook of the Politics of Labour, Work and Employment
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Handbook of the Politics of Labour, Work and Employment

Edited by Gregor Gall

Providing a thorough overview of the political nature and dynamics of the world of work, labour and employment, this timely Handbook draws together an interdisciplinary range of top contributors to explore the interdependent relationship between politics and labour, work and employment. The Handbook explores the purpose, roles, rights and powers of employers and management, workers and unions, states and governments in the age of globalised neo-liberalism.
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Chapter 17: Skills and the social value of work

Patricia Findlay


This chapter analyses skill in work through a broader political economy lens that allows for greater understanding of the competing and complementary priorities and experiences of multiple actors – individuals, employers and the state primarily – in relation to skills and the potential for approaches to skills in work to drive, or to thwart, individual economic and social progress. It begins by considering the challenges in defining, understanding and analysing skills and then examines the value of skills both in terms of returns to having skills and qualifications and in terms of the organisational processes and practices for skills valuation. Then it considers key trends in workforce and workplace skill and looks beyond the ‘possession’ of skills to consider how these are deployed in the workplace. Finally, it considers approaches to skills in distinct country and institutional settings and the possibility of a more progressive agenda for skills and the challenges.

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