In this paper I document changes in the distribution of employment in the UK labour market in the 1980s. I use two longitudinal data sources, an industry-level panel data set between 1979 and 1990 and the panel component of the 1984 and 1990 establishment-level Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys. There is evidence of a considerable shift towards the increased relative use of what may be termed more skilled labour (i.e. towards non-manual work, away from manual work and towards more highly educated labour). This seems to be principally driven by within-industry and establishment factors rather than by industry/establishment shifts in product demand. There is some support for the notion that manual employment saving changes, perhaps due to the increased use of computer technology and/or innovation, are of empirical importance. To form a more complete picture, however, one probably needs to look wider than this
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