Stuck in the middle of a metaphor: intermediate occupations and some limitations of the hourglass economy thesis

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Abstract

Evidence from the ESRC Future of Work research programme suggests that an hourglass-shaped occupational structure is emerging in the UK, with the polarisation of jobs at top and bottom of the occupational hierarchy (Nolan, 2001). Despite the implicit suggestion that jobs in the middle appear to be disappearing, somewhat paradoxically, there are increasing reports of skill and recruitment problems across intermediate occupations (DfES, 2002; FSS, 2007; LSC, 2006). This paper argues that whilst the hourglass economy thesis, or a variation of it, best describes recent occupational transformations, it is limited both conceptually and empirically; more specifically, it neglects important dimensions of change within intermediate occupations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventWork, Employment and Society Conference 2007 - University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Sep 200714 Sep 2007

Conference

ConferenceWork, Employment and Society Conference 2007
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityAberdeen
Period12/09/0714/09/07

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Keywords

  • metaphore
  • intermediate occupations
  • hourglass economy thesis
  • occupational change
  • SOC2000

Cite this

Anderson, P. (2007). Stuck in the middle of a metaphor: intermediate occupations and some limitations of the hourglass economy thesis. Paper presented at Work, Employment and Society Conference 2007, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.