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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Working in the Twenty First Century
Michael Moynagh and Richard WorsleyEconomic and Social Research Council2005ISBN 0-9541278-1-1,
Do you know what was the fastest growing occupation in the UK in the 1990s? Hairdressing. This was one of a number of interesting facts I picked up from this book. Another was that China and India each produce approximately two million graduates annually which I found simply staggering. However, it is not so these sort of facts that make this book particularly interesting but the way its uses them to consider the future. At the heart of the book are five fundamental questions:
What work will be available?
Who will do this work?
How work be organized?
How will work be managed?
What balance will be struck between work and “life”?
What differentiates this look to the future is that it relies less on anecdote and speculation, being firmly rooted in the evidence base. It draws on the latest research produced by social scientists and in particular from the ESRC’s Future of Work programme.
In relation to the younger end of the labour market, for example, the authors argue that “relationships skills” will expand. They reflect in particular on the potential significance of “emotional literacy”; the ability to respond helpfully to your own and other people’s feelings which is about more than just communication. Recognition of emotional literacy, they suggest, will require something of a “revolution” in the education system. With specific reference to higher education and graduates it appears likely that by 2020 two-thirds of those under 30 will enter higher education. This leads the authors to discuss the need for differentiation, often by taking postgraduate qualifications, thereby delaying entry into the labour market and further squeezing the labour supply.
Elsewhere in the book a range of other themes are developed in the process of addressing the questions noted above; the role of women in the labour market, older workers, home working and what sort of future is likely to befall the trade movement and its influence. Some myths are debunked. The authors acknowledge that the end of “jobs for life” has become so deeply ingrained in our culture that few question it. Yet, as they point out, the evidence base to support this claim is somewhat fragile and it is suggested that change is more likely in the content of a job than in the frequency of movement between jobs.
With its attention on the labour market as a whole there is perhaps not the depth of coverage that I would have like to see in relation to young people but for the most part this is offset by its effective combination of research evidence and intelligent extrapolation to address issues that will affect us all, whatever our status in the labour market. The book should provide a highly accessible resource for a range of teachers, researchers, and policy makers who need an understanding the workplace and the labour market in their work. Given the topicality of many of the issues discussed, the book deserves a wider readership. Its ability to look to the future whilst keeping a firm foot in the past ensures that informed debate and discussion can ensue rather than idol speculation fuelled by myth and misunderstandings.
Globalization, Education and Culture Shock
Edited by Cedric CullingfordAshgate2005ISBN: 0754642011£45
Skill Formation and Globalization
Edited by Marcus PowellAshgate2005ISBN: 0754619877£45
So accustomed have we become to the idea that today’s businesses operate on an international scale that, however irritated we might be with the apparent lack of personal service, we scarcely bat an eyelid at discussing our pension with a lady in Poznan or reporting our faulty food mixer to a man in Mumbai.
Globalization – the movement of people, ideas, goods, services and capital across the world – has been fuelled not only by the new information and communication technologies, but also by ever-more-affordable international travel. As a result, economies are growing more integrated, making it increasingly difficult to talk about “the British economy” or “the Indian economy”. The fortunes of citizens in one region of the world are increasingly tied to those of people in another. Globalization, Education and Culture Shock and Skill Formation and Globalization examine how the worlds of education and training are reacting to such important changes.
Globalization, Education and Culture Shock explores the impact of globalization on education. The authors consider the changes – sometimes subtle, sometimes revolutionary – that arise when ideas, practices and experiences are discussed and analysed by people of contrasting cultural backgrounds. Through a series of case studies they examine the contradictions, as well as the new ideas and opportunities, which globalization offers to individuals, to states and to intellectual cultures. Key areas of discussion are: the effects of globalization on individuals; the contradictions embedded in the process of globalization, especially in the economic sphere; the impact on education of globalizing ideas, thoughts and values; and the relationship between globalization and culture.
The contradictions of globalization in the economic sphere are best illustrated by the fact that, while the global media are raising people’s expectations the world over, the gap between the richest and poorest regions of the world is growing. More than 100 million children are not enrolled in school, and millions more attend schools that do little to teach them anything relevant to their futures.
Globalization will require people to cross cultural boundaries, work with others by understanding and empathizing with their points of view, and consider multiple perspectives. Teaching this increased flexibility and tolerance will play an increasing role in education and training. Countries at different states of social, cultural and economic development will approach the process of skill formation in different ways. Skill Formation and Globalization uses empirical evidence to document how different nations formulate their training strategy, including how labour-market information is used to inform decision making and the role stakeholders play in the process.
Skill Formation and Globalization appeals most to academics and policy advisers concerned with growth and democracy, plus people studying international human resource development. Globalization, Education and Culture Shock, in contrast, provides informative reading for both the professional educator and for the more general reader.