Monday, 7 April 2014

Rising skill requirements - facts or figment?

Talk by Prof. Tomas Korpi, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University

The changing character of jobs is a perennial question in the social sciences. With regard to the requirements associated with employment, i.e. the qualities of the tasks that are to be carried out, various scholars have at different times argued for a) a successive demeaning of jobs, b) a continuous increase in the complexity of jobs, and c) a growing dualization of jobs. Despite the attention garnered by these contrasting visions, evidence on the actual development of skill requirements is surprisingly scant. Much of the evidence is instead indirect, and consists of conjectures regarding the development of skill requirements based on changes in occupational structures or wage distributions. Direct evidence on changes in tasks does exist, but is often treated in a fragmented and unsatisfying manner. In this talk I will present on-going work on changes in skill requirements, what I call job complexity, in Europe between 1990 and 2010 in which I try to overcome some of the limitations of earlier research.

The talk will be held in the colloquium series, organized by WZB's research area on Education, Work, and Life Chances.