The 'Age of Over-Qualification'
16 November 2016
In their new book 'Skills in the Age of Over-Qualification: Comparing Service Sector Work in Europe', Professor Caroline Lloyd partners with co-writer Jonathan Payne of De Montfort University to ask what can be done to improve the quality of employment and make better use of workers’ skills.
Many national governments have emphasised the role of skills in achieving international competitiveness, higher living standards and social inclusion. However, even prior to the 2008 financial crisis, problems of over-qualification, skills wastage and poor job quality were becoming difficult to ignore. Through cross-national comparative research, Lloyd and Payne examine whether and why service sector jobs vary across countries. Drawing upon detailed empirical research, the jobs of vocational teacher, fitness instructor, and café worker in the UK, Norway, and France are compared, allowing an exploration of the role of national institutions, sectors, and organisations in shaping work organisation and job quality.
The findings question the long held view that economic performance has been hindered by skill deficiencies, and show that there are alternative ways of organising work that can contribute to improvements job quality. A compelling case is made for policy interventions aimed at altering the organisation of work and design of jobs.
Caroline Lloyd is Professor in the School of Social Sciences. Her research focuses on the relationships between product markets, labour markets, work organisation and skills. She has published widely on issues related to the political economy of skill and the causes and consequences of low wage work, including co-editing Low-Wage Work in the United Kingdom (Russell Sage Foundation).
'Skills in the Age of Over-Qualification: Comparing Service Sector Work in Europe' is published by Oxford University Press and is available in both hardcover and as an ebook.