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Skill shortages have been a recurring problem and are likely to re‐emerge as the UK economy recovers from recession. Presents evidence from the Skill Needs survey 1990, close to the peak of the last cycle. It shows that different measures of shortage can give different results with quite different policy implications. In particular, it demonstrates that occupations associated with the most intensive skill shortages within establishments are generally quite different from occupations where the shortages are the most widespread across industry.
The most highly qualified occupational group, comprising individuals who work primarily in activities involving high levels of technical and organisational skills, is focused on. It is a group which, overall, has shown remarkable growth in recent years. Certain specialisms, such as IT skills, experienced relatively buoyant labour markets which even transcended the effects of the last major recession. In the main, such skills were associated with unusual demand conditions, caused, for example, by the diffusion of microelectronics and by the changes in company organisation and management. Since the recession, specific skill shortages have been transformed into more general shortfalls. Demand for individuals with high levels of formal education and training is expected to continue growing. Supply is not expected to keep pace, a situation which will be aggravated by the downturn in the youth cohort. There are other significant events on the horizon which make the market outcome more uncertain, such as the movement to the Single European Market in 1992, although none of these factors seems likely to reverse the conclusion of persistent shortages.
The principal aim of this article is to provide some insights into the role of economics in modelling labour demands. The impression that we have built up over time is…
The principal aim of this article is to provide some insights into the role of economics in modelling labour demands. The impression that we have built up over time is that, while many of the existing economic theories have a considerable amount to offer in understanding the demand for labour, these theories are still in their infancy. They are generated almost entirely from within the subject rather than in co‐operation with other disciplines, and they are often tested at a macro level using econometric techniques rather than at the micro level using case study material. While much of the statistical testing at an aggregate level has been useful in confirming (and even on occasion refuting) the existing body of theory, many of the more interesting theoretical break‐throughs in economics generally have resulted from detailed knowledge of the researcher about the operation of particular firms.
This brief article pulls together a number of general themes. In particular, it looks at a number of influences on the extent and nature of skill shortages, including: the growth of the economy; technological change; organisational change; international competition; changes in industrial structure; increased demands for a more formally qualified workforce; training; demographic changes; labour market flexibility; wastage rates, retention and recruitment; movement to a Single European Market. Finally it provides a number of more general comments which, in essence, serve to highlight the central role played by training.
Considers the optimal training decisions of firms and individuals,and provides a number of reasons why there may be underinvestment in themarket for training. Reflects on…
Considers the optimal training decisions of firms and individuals, and provides a number of reasons why there may be underinvestment in the market for training. Reflects on the individual′s decision to invest in training in the context of dynamic labour supply theories. This is combined with a model of the firm′s decision‐making process to provide a “market for training” in which wage‐training‐employment contracts are determined.
The Labour Force Survey is a rich data sourcefor investigation of the factors influencingunemployment. The initial results are based ona linear probability model. They…
The Labour Force Survey is a rich data source for investigation of the factors influencing unemployment. The initial results are based on a linear probability model. They highlight some of the influences on job search, the choice of methods, the intensity and the duration of search. The probability of search is positively related to claimancy status and is higher for males and for those in younger‐age and shorter‐duration unemployment categories. Family responsibilities had quite different effects on male and female job search probabilities, except in the case of single parents. The intensity of search was noticeably higher in males, for claimants, for younger‐age groups and shorter‐duration categories. Reliance on job centres fell significantly with age, tended to be higher amongst the less well qualified and lower social classes. With the exception of Northern Ireland, individuals in higher unemployment areas made greater use of job centres. All of the results were duration‐related: the probability and intensity of job search fell with the duration of unemployment; the reliance on job centres increased with duration.
It is often the case that policy makers are slow to adopt the results of economic analysis in their policy formulation. Shiftworking is one of those rare cases where policymakers have seized upon something as having particular significance which economists have on the whole neglected. Robin Marris published a seminal work, The Economics of Capital Utilisation, in 1964, but it was not until the later 1970s that further substantial work was undertaken by economists and shiftworking appears to be regarded as hardly worth a mention in the standard labour economics texts. This relative neglect by economists is surprising given the significance and growth of shiftworking in a number of countries. Where data are available it is estimated for instance that, as a rough approximation, the number of workers engaged on shiftwork doubled between 1950 and the mid‐1970s. For the UK one estimate is that between 1954 and 1964 the proportion of manual employees working shifts in manufacturing industry increased from 12 to 20 per cent, and that by 1978 the figure was 34 per cent (that is approximately 1.5 out of 4.27 million employees). Shiftworking has in fact reflected a conflict of goals for the policymakers. On the one hand in both the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the European Commission (EC) concern has been expressed at the possible harmful effects on workers of particular shiftworking patterns and proposals have been made to limit its incidence and control its form (this being particularly the case with nightwork and with the hours of women and young persons). On the other hand, concern with the growing problem of unemployment has led policymakers in other sections of these same bodies to propose an extension of shiftworking, as one particular form of work‐sharing, in order to generate jobs. The purpose of this paper is to examine the development of shiftworking for male manual workers in British manufacturing industry in order to cast some light on these issues. In particular supply equations are estimated in order to understand what factors lead workers to select this particular form of work and demand equations to determine the nature of the employer's demand for labour. These structural equations form the basis of a simultaneous system in which plant size (measured in terms of employment) is estimated as a function of shiftworking and a vector of other explanatory variables in order to determine whether in fact it is reasonable to conclude that an extension of shiftworking will generate additional jobs in Britain. Before presenting the regression results it is however necessary to examine in more detail these socio‐economic policy aspects of shiftwork, to clarify the theoretical framework and to discuss some of the problems of estimation which stem largely from data deficiencies, but also involve problems of simultaneity notably in the relationships between shiftworking, capital intensity and plant size.
The subject of part‐time work is one which has become increasingly important in industrialised economies where it accounts for a substantial and growing proportion of total employment. It is estimated that in 1970, average annual hours worked per employee amounted to only 60% of those for 1870. Two major factors are attributed to explaining the underlying trend towards a reduction in working time: (a) the increase in the number of voluntary part‐time employees and (b) the decrease in average annual number of days worked per employee (Kok and de Neubourg, 1986). The authors noted that the growth rate of part‐time employment in many countries was greater than the corresponding rate of growth in full‐time employment.
This paper sets out to disseminate new knowledge about workforce planning, a crucial health sector issue. The Health Select Committee criticised NHS England's failure to…
This paper sets out to disseminate new knowledge about workforce planning, a crucial health sector issue. The Health Select Committee criticised NHS England's failure to develop and apply effective workforce planning. The Workforce Review Team (WRT) commissioned the Institute for Employment Research, Warwick University, to undertake a “rapid review” of global literature to identify good practice. A workforce planning overview, its theoretical principles, good practice exemplars are provided before discussing their application to healthcare.
The literature review, undertaken September‐November 2007, determined the current workforce planning evidence within and outside health service provision and any consensus on successful workforce planning.
Much of the literature was descriptive and there was a lack of comparative or evaluative research‐based evidence to inform UK healthcare workforce planning. Workforce planning practices were similar in other countries.
There was no evidence to challenge current WRT approaches to NHS England workforce planning. There are a number of indications about how this might be extended and improved, given additional resources. The evidence‐base for workforce planning would be strengthened by robust and authoritative studies.
Systematic workforce planning is a key healthcare quality management element. This review highlights useful information that can be turned into knowledge by informed application to the NHS. Best practice in other sectors and other countries appears to warrant exploration.
The post‐war period has been characterised by a persistent and substantial expansion in the employment of women. At the same time, women have become increasingly protected…
The post‐war period has been characterised by a persistent and substantial expansion in the employment of women. At the same time, women have become increasingly protected in employment by a legislative framework that includes the Equal Pay Act (1970), the Social Security and Pensions Act (1975) and the Sex Discrimination Act (1975). Nevertheless, a number of vestiges of discrimination under the law still remain, such as the special treatment of women with regard to the length and timing of their paid employment. Despite the attempts to remove discrimination by legislation, there remains a considerable groundswell of opinion that there are still substantial differences in the treatment of women vis‐a‐vis men in employment. One continuing concern is the tendency of the organisation of tasks to polarise into men‐only and women‐only jobs. As a result, it has been argued that the situation approximates to a dual labour market, with women being funnelled into the secondary labour market. Complex, interacting forces are at play that make the estimation of statistical models of the existing distribution of employment by sex (from which evidence of sex discrimination might be sought) extremely difficult. A potentially more rewarding approach is to examine those jobs that employers believe to be of the men‐only or women‐only types. Questions of this type were included in a recent survey of employers across all sectors of employment in British industry. While the formulation of such questions and the interpretation of the results are associated with important problems, nevertheless, the survey provides a useful impression of the size and nature of the barriers faced by women in their search for employment opportunities and the manner in which these barriers may be broken down.