Are intermediate jobs disappearing? The myth of labour polarisation in Europe
1In the European countries considered, employment of greater quality grew by 10 percentage points from the start of the 1990s, when it represented 20% of employment, until 2015, when it reached 30%.
2Occupational change in Spain has been more spectacular. In barely 25 years, employment of greater quality has almost doubled, growing by 15 percentage points when salaries, education level and prestige are taken into account.
3The research analyses how employment has changed in Germany, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which exemplify the current variety and group together half of the continent’s population.
In barely 25 years, in Spain, employment in quality occupations has doubled, growing by 15 percentage points when salaries, education level or prestige are taken into account.
However, even though the pattern is repeated (good occupations grow more and poor ones decline), the change is less pronounced when job satisfaction is analysed. This is understandable if we take into account the fact that Spain is one of the European countries with the lowest levels of job satisfaction, even among workers with well-paid or high-prestige occupations.
A “good job” is often associated with a “well-paid” job. However, employment quality is a multidimensional phenomenon that it is hard to reduce exclusively to salaries. For that reason, here a broader focus is adopted in which four employment quality indicators are incorporated:
- Median income for the occupation.
- Education level.
- Occupational prestige.
- Worker job satisfaction.