- The Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: Skills and Training: Multiple Targets, Shifting Terrain
- Disciplinary Perspectives on Skill
- Skill Builders and the Evolution of National Vocational Training Systems
- The Changing Meaning of Skill: Still Contested, Still Important
- A New Social Construction of Skill
- Measuring Job Content: Skills, Technology, and Management Practices
- Accreditation and Assessment in Vocational Education and Training
- Education and Qualifications as Skills
- Pre-Employment Skill Formation in Australia and Germany
- Skill Development in Middle-level Occupations: The Role of Apprenticeship Training
- What Is Expected of Higher Education Graduates in the Twenty-first Century?
- Employer-Led In-Work Training and Skill Formation: The Challenges of Multi-Varied and Contingent Phenomena
- Unions, the Skills Agenda, and Workforce Development
- A Working Lifetime of Skill and Training Needs
- Skill Under-utilization
- Business Strategies and Skills
- Measuring Skills Stock, Job Skills, and Skills Mismatch
- The Individual Benefits of Investing in Skills
- The Economic and Social Benefits of Skills
- Theorizing Skill Formation in the Global Economy
- Different National Skill Systems
- Skill Ecosystems
- Employment Systems, Skills, and Knowledge
- Skill Demands and Developments in the Advanced Economies
- Approaches to Skills in the Asian Developmental States
- Emerging Economic Powers: The Transformation of the Skills Systems in China and India
- Projecting the Impact of Information Technology on Work and Skills in the 2030s
- International Skill Flows and Migration
- Professional Skills: Impact of Comparative Political Economy
- Skills and Training for the Older Population: Training the New Work Generation
- Rethinking Skills Development: Moving Beyond Competency-Based Training
- Who Pays for Skills?: Differing Perspectives on Who Should Pay and Why
- Current Challenges: Policy Lessons and Implications
- Author Index
Abstract and Keywords
There are a number of theoretical positions that inform analyses of skill. One such position is the social construction of skill. When it was first proposed it was driven by feminist concerns about the sex-typing of jobs and women’s exclusion from jobs labelled as skilled. This chapter offers a new social construction of skill. It appreciates that the old social construction of skill has not disappeared but points out that the context within which this construction occurred has changed, with weaker labour unions and the decline in the manufacturing industries. With more service jobs and stronger employers, the chapter argues that in the wealthier countries there have been two shifts: a shift in how skill has been defined and a shift in who has the power to define it. Focusing on gender, race and class, the chapters explains how the social construction of skill has been restructured in three ways. First, more importance is attached to ascription of skill. Second, who is and isn’t deemed to be skilled has changed. Third, the lines between achieved and ascribed skill are increasingly blurred. The chapter finishes by suggesting ways in which the discrimination arising from this new social construction of skill might be addressed.
Chris Warhurst PhD is Professor and Director of the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, a Trustee of the Tavistock Institute in London, and a Research Associate of SKOPE at Oxford University. He has published a number of books and articles on skills, including, with colleagues, The Skills that Matter (Palgrave, 2004) and Are Bad Jobs Inevitable? (Palgrave, 2012). He has been expert advisor on skills policy to the UK, Scottish, and Australian governments, and an international expert advisor to the OECD’s LEED programme.
Chris Tilly is Professor of Urban Planning and Director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California Los Angeles. He is a labour economist specializing in job quality. His books include Half a Job: Bad and Good Part-Time Jobs in a Changing Labor Market (Temple University Press, 1996), Stories Employers Tell: Race, Skill, and Hiring in America (Russell Sage Foundation, 2003), and Are Bad Jobs Inevitable? (Palgrave, 2012).
Mary Gatta PhD is Senior Scholar at Wider Opportunities for Women in Washington DC. She leads research on job quality for low-wage workers; workforce development training programmes; and non-traditional jobs for women. Mary’s expertise includes integrating a gender lens into policy analysis. She has published numerous books and articles including: All I Want Is A Job! Unemployed Women Navigating the Public Workforce System (Stanford University Press, 2014).
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