DP952 Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market

Author(s): Stephen Machin
Publication Date: April 1994
Keyword(s): Computer Use, Employment Composition, Innovation, R&D Intensity
JEL(s): J0
Programme Areas: Human Resources
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=952

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.