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Work in progress All comments welcome Making ‘flexible ’ Manchester: competition and change in the temporary staffing industry

By Kevin Ward


According to local economic and political commentators, Manchester’s economy is booming. Employment is growing, investment is on the up, people are moving back into the city centre, and last summer the city hosted the largest multi-sporting event to be held in England since the 1948 Olympics. Local economic and political actors point to the wave of economic optimism that has followed the ‘entrepreneurial turn’ performed in the late 1980s by the city’s political institutions. As part of this, emphasis switched away from Manchester’s industrial past and to its post-industrial futures. The city council stopped talking defensively and began to talk about making things happen. Political strategies focused on raising the profile of the city, through sustained marketing strategies aimed at selling Manchester as a flexible, twenty-first century consumer-orientated city. Important in guaranteeing the emergence of this new type of ‘flexible city ’ has been the emergence of new-style labour market institutions and their involvement in the delivery of ‘onthe-ground’ flexibility. Integral to this new regulatory regime has been the emergence in Manchester of a sizeable temporary staffing industry. The first English city to regulate the initial incarnation of temporary staffing agencies, employment bureaux, and hence with a long established ‘industry ’ as such, this paper exams the newly energised Manchester temporary staffing industry, and traces some of the labour marke

Topics: entrepreneurial urbanism, state restructuring, temporary staffing industry, labour markets, flexibility, Manchester
Year: 2011
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