Jan 2024 – Dec 2024
Gerbrand Tholen (City, University of London), Andrea Laczik & Kat Emms (Edge Foundation)
In the last decades, many experts have tried to understand how the occupational structure has changed under the influence of new technologies, globalisation, and changes in work. The so-called hourglass economy has become an influential way of highlighting a perceived polarisation with growth in skilled occupations as well as low-skilled interactive occupations. Middle occupations, i.e. the jobs that occupy the centre of the distribution of occupations in terms of skills or incomes, have declined in recent decades and are predicted to fall further as they face the greatest risk of replacement by technologies, including Artificial Intelligence.
The study evaluates how we can understand jobs in the middle of the occupational structure by examining their characteristics, including the role of technology, the skills used at work, and the role of education.
The project will use a mixed-method approach combining quantitative and qualitative methods:
- Occupational analysis of existing survey data. The study will investigate the size of some middle occupations as well as the educational attainment, earnings and other relevant job characteristics between 1993 and 2023. It will use Labour Force Survey data.
- Qualitative occupational case studies.