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Computers are even more important than you thought: an analysis of the changing skill-intensity of jobs

By A. Felstead, D. Gallie and F. Green

Abstract

We investigate the impact of computer usage at work and other job features on the changing skills required of workers. We compare skills utilisation in Britain at three data points: 1986, 1992 and 1997, using responses to identical questions on comparable surveys. We question the validity of investigating the facts about, and the sources of, rising skills by using just educational attainment or occupational grouping data. We re-examine empirical evidence concerning skills trends, using proxies for the level of skills actually used in jobs. We find that: job skills have increased between 1986 and 1997, faster for women than for men; these skills changes are not captured simply by changes in the occupational class structure; the spread of computer usage is very strongly associated with the process of upskilling throughout the period; expanded use of quality circles is also linked to upskilling; evidence for any direct role of trade in inducing skills increases is weak; using the qualification held or occupation as a skills measure can lead to erroneous conclusions as to the origin of skills change

Topics: T Technology (General), HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Publisher: Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science
Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:20208
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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