Erstarrung, Beschleunigung oder Polarisierung? Arbeitsmarktmobilität und Beschäftigungsstabilität im Zeitverlauf

Erstarrung, Beschleunigung oder Polarisierung? Arbeitsmarktmobilität und Beschäftigungsstabilität im Zeitverlauf: neue Ergebnisse mit der IAB-Beschäftigtenstichprobe. Internet-Dokument. Gelsenkirchen: Inst. Arbeit und Technik. Graue Reihe des Instituts Arbeit und Technik, Nr. 2006-01

Erlinghagen, Marcel


Based on the data of the Regional Sample of the IAB Employment Subsample 1975-2001 (IABES) the paper investigates in the evolution of labour market mobility and job stability in West Germany. The results show that there has been an overall de-stabilisation of jobs in the course of time regardless of individual, firm-specific or macro-economic determinants. Further on an increasing polarisation could be observed that is especially determined by workers' qualification and that is underlying the de-stabilisation process.

All in all there is no evidence for a (increasing) sclerosis of the West German labour market. Despite this clear finding it is not possible to give an unambiguous answer to the question whether a reflexive-modern increase of discontinuous employment histo-ries has dominated or an increase in the importance of individual knowledge with its skill-specific polarisation of employment chances and risks has driven labour market mobility during the last decades. Since decreasing job stability and especially the speed-ing up of inter-firm job changes are rather indicating overall increasing labour market risks it should be noted that there is no continuous de-stabilisation process in the course of time. Thus, different groups of workers were affected by the speeding up of labour market events during different periods since the mid 1970s. Hence, shrinking job stability is no overall time-trend unless that overall job stability at the beginning of the 21st century is lower compared to the beginning of the 1980s. Another result is that espe-cially unskilled workers and employees with an academic degree both show an increas-ing mobility but due to different reasons and with different outcomes. Whereas skilled employees show growing chances of immediate inter-firm job changes and shrinking unemployment risks, unskilled employees have faced some kind of “double polarisa-tion”. Within the segment of unskilled workers not only the unemployment risk has in-creased dramatically but at the same time there is also an increase in the chances of immediate inter-firm job change. Thus, these results support the hypotheses of a strong skill-specific differentiation of employment chances and risk in the course of time since it can be suggested that even the so called “unskilled” must be increasingly well equipped with basic soft skills if they want to be successful on the labour market in knowledge societies.

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