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Labour market segmentation in Britain: the decline of occupational labour markets and the spread of ‘entry tournaments'

Marsden, David (2007) Labour market segmentation in Britain: the decline of occupational labour markets and the spread of ‘entry tournaments'. Économies et Sociétés, 28. pp. 965-998. ISSN 0013-0567

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This paper reviews the changing pattern of labour market segmentation in Britain since the mid-1970s. In the early 1980s, industrial labour markets in Britain, along with Germany, could be characterised as dominated by occupational labour markets for skilled workers compared with the predominance of firm internal labour markets in France and Italy. These provided for structured entry paths into the relevant occupations and jobs. Britain’s position in this picture has changed as a result of the decline of industrial employment and the institutions on which these occupational markets were built. The second part of the article searches for new models whose importance is increasing in Britain. It examines the spread of highly competitive conditions for entry into certain service sector activities, such as the media, and ‘knowledge intensive’ services where employment has been growing rapidly. The paper presents evidence that some of these sectors have come to be characterised by prolonged ‘entry tournaments’. These are driven by ease of entry at the bottom, growth of earnings at the top, and a struggle for access to the higher status, stable, positions within the occupation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 Institut des Sciences Mathématiques et Economiques Appliquées
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2008
Last Modified: 18 May 2011 09:54

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