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Conceptual and ethodological challenges for comparative analysis

Job quality: challenges for comparative analysis 9 Job quality: conceptual and methodological challenges for comparative analysis Agnieszka Piasna, Brendan Burchell, Kirsten Sehnbruch and Nurjk Agloni Introduction International development agencies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and individual governments have traditionally been more concerned with the quantity of jobs – as measured by the rate of unemployment, or the rate of participation in the labour market

in Making work more equal
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A new labour market segmentation approach

This book presents new theories and international empirical evidence on the state of work and employment around the world. Changes in production systems, economic conditions and regulatory conditions are posing new questions about the growing use by employers of precarious forms of work, the contradictory approaches of governments towards employment and social policy, and the ability of trade unions to improve the distribution of decent employment conditions. Designed as a tribute to the highly influential contributions of Jill Rubery, the book proposes a ‘new labour market segmentation approach’ for the investigation of issues of job quality, employment inequalities, and precarious work. This approach is distinctive in seeking to place the changing international patterns and experiences of labour market inequalities in the wider context of shifting gender relations, regulatory regimes and production structures.

Australia, France and Sweden compared

necessity to increase employment rates to finance social protection, as well as the increase in women’s education level, has led to a progressive development of childcare, although some incentives to maternal inactivity remain in public policies. Gender equality at work (in terms of wages, but also employment conditions and job quality) has also emerged as a policy goal over recent years, partly influenced by European gender equality policies. Often presented as the ideal type of social democratic welfare state (EspingAndersen, 1990), Sweden emphasises the principles of

in Making work more equal
Implications for jobs and inequality

have grown. The greater use of business strategies that re-allocate workers across networked organisations has important implications for employment relations and for wages, job quality and inequality.1 More than a decade ago, in a series of important essays written with colleagues,  Jill Rubery drew attention to the blurring of firm boundaries and the fragmenting of work in the UK. Rubery was already a leading scholar of labour  market flexibility and the rise of temporary and contingent jobs in  Europe.  In the research on the fragmentation of work, she moved

in Making work more equal
A critical assessment of work effort in Britain in comparison to Europe

driving the upward movement with both enhancing the level of surveillance possible by employers and/or fellow workers (Felstead et al., 2016). Working longer and harder? Britain in European comparison 203 Conclusions Comparing job quality over time and between countries is difficult due to the scarcity of data. The studies which do exist tend to focus on particular aspects of job quality where data are available. Working time is one such theme. Reductions in working time designed to share out declining volumes of employment and dampen the rise in unemployment

in Making work more equal

). The absence of a correlation between labour market flexibility and macroeconomic employment performance raises the question of the social and long-term (growth) effects of these policies. Inequalities, unemployment, precariousness, poverty Job quality The deep and prolonged economic crisis has taken a toll on the labour markets, with a fall in employment rates, dramatic increases in unemployment 276 Making work more equal Table 14.4  Gross turnover (hiring and firing/quitting) by firm size and region – Italy, manufacturing Total 20–49 50–199 200–499 Over North

in Making work more equal
Introduction and overview

play a role in constructing and sustaining inequalities, whether by lobbying for deregulatory reforms, unbundling production structures in ways that fragment work, or evading rules designed to secure fair and equal treatment and to enhance job quality. Political and economic actions are thus continuously shaping the trajectory and country specificity of work and employment inequalities in the context of shifting international patterns of production organisation, industrial relations, gender relations and demographic changes such as population ageing or migration

in Making work more equal
From an enabling towards a disabling state?

, 1957: 125). Since the 1990s, job quality in many countries has deteriorated considerably as a result of increasing income inequality, the increase in low-wage work and the constant fear of loss of income, even among well-paid workers.1 Jill Rubery has investigated these processes with us in several joint research projects with various thematic focal points (see, among others, Bosch et al., 2009; Grimshaw et al., 2014; Grimshaw and Rubery, 2015; Rubery, 2005). Rubery (2015) has concluded, on the basis of her wide-ranging experience, that the standard employment

in Making work more equal
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Diversification and the rise of fragmented time systems

figures in employee demands for improved job quality and decent work. At the level of practice, an array of changes, often labelled ‘flexible working-time arrangements’, has emerged in many industrialised societies, signalling a significant diversification of working-time patterns for the workforce (Lee, 2004; Lee et al., 2007; Messenger, 2004). In some cases, the new working-time arrangements represent increased insecurity and precariousness for employees, while in other cases they are welcomed and actively pursued by employees. Further complicating the task of

in Making work more equal