Research Paper Working Papers of the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change 97-20
Restructuring, reskilling and redundancy: a study of the dynamics of the UK labour market, 1990-1995
01 Apr 1997
This study reveals the longer term consequences of redundancy, shown to include discontinuous employment, deskilling and significant movement down the earnings distribution. Redundancy is studied within the wider and more general context of occupational change and earnings growth, as revealed in an examination of labour market data from the first five waves of the British Household Panel Study. Using a broad classification of occupations designed to reflect skill levels, it is shown that the working population experienced significant growth in high level occupations (senior managerial and professional occupations) and a decline in lower level occupations (clerical, secretarial, personal service, operative and unskilled jobs). Between these two groups sit the intermediate occupations (junior managerial, associate professional, technical and craft jobs). Within this category, craft occupations, continue to decline through the 1991-95 period, at a faster rate than during the preceding decade. These jobs, together with low-skilled occupations experience the major share of redundancies. Workers made redundant are less likely to work in future years and are more likely to experience significant downward movement in their occupational position and earnings. Work-related training is received by a good proportion of ex-redundant workers who regained employment during the period studied, but no evidence was found to support the hypothesis that the experience of training may protect them from the negative consequences of redundancy.