Sociology Index

Occupational Structure

Occupational structure represents the unequal geographical distribution of more desirable jobs among communities. Occupational structure is distribution of occupations in society, classified according to skill level, economic function, or social status.

The occupational structure is shaped by factors such as the structure of the economy, technology, bureaucracy, the labour-market segmentation, the primary labor market and the secondary labour market, and by status and prestige. Demand Mobility takes place over time and is not caused by individuals ascending or descending in social class or status, but rather by changes in the occupational structure of the economy.

The Changing Occupational Structure of Employment, 1971-95 - Occupational structure has changed significantly over time and further important changes are forecast by the year 1995.

A substantial part of the change in occupational structure between 1971 and 1981 can be attributed to the shift in industrial structure. Despite the rising level of civilian employment in recent years, some, mainly blue-collar occupations, continued to fall over the period 1981 to 1987. Others, however, showed significant growth (including professional, associate professional and managerial occupations), caused by both the changing occupational structure within industries and the changing industry mix.

Such changes are likely to persist, bolstered by the continued expansion of the economy. The article reviews the possible extent of skill shortages in the nine main occupational groups. Shortages seem likely amongst managers and administrators, professional occupations and associate professional and technical occupations. They also appear to be persisting amongst craft and skilled manual workers despite declining levels of employment in this group. However, skill shortages seem much less likely amongst clerical and secretarial, personal and protective services, sales occupations, plant and machine operatives and other occupations. -  - R.A. Wilson - International Journal of Manpower, Year: 1990 Volume: 11 Issue: 2 Page: 44 - 53 ISSN: 0143-7720 - Abstract.

Occupational structure, wages, and migration in late nineteenth-century England and Wales
Friedlander, Dov, Economic Development & Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press
Abstract: Differences in socioeconomic status and occupational structures caused migrational movements from the agricultural sector to more productive economic areas in late 19th century England and Wales. These out-migrations from agriculture resulted from decreased demand and wages in farm labor due to technological advancement and increased incomes in the non-agricultural sector. Proximity to growing industrial areas and the economic role of agriculture in certain districts also accounted for these intersector migrations.

Employment Occupational Structure, Technological Capital and Reorganization of Production
Cesar Alonso-Borrego, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Department of Economics
Victor Aguirregabiria, University of Toronto - Department of Economics
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid Working Paper No. 97-12
Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of skill-biased technological progress on the recent changes in the occupational structure of Spanish manufacturing employment. Our dataset consists of a panel of Spanish manufacturing firms during the period 1986-1991. We confirm a puzzle that has been found in other OECD countries: investment in capital inputs is clearly procyclical, but destruction of unskilled jobs and creation of skilled jobs have been concentrated during the recession. However, we also find that the number of firms investing by first time in technological capital has been clearly countercyclical. Based on this evidence, we estimate a dynamic model where firms take discrete decisions about what labor and capital inputs to use, and continuous decisions on the amount of each selected input. After controlling for individual heterogeneity and self-selection we find that these two decisions have different effects on occupational structure. In particular, we find that for new innovative firms the introduction of technological capital has significant and sizeable effects on the occupational structure of employment.

Occupational Structure, Technological Innovation, and Reorganization of Production
Victor Aguirregabiria, University of Toronto - Department of Economics
Cesar Alonso-Borrego, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Department of Economics
Labour Economics, Vol. 8, No. 1, January 2001
Abstract: Recent studies have found evidence for the complementarity between white-collar labor and technological capital. However, the estimated elasticities appear too small to explain the observed changes in labor occupational structure. Most of the increases in the share of white collar employment have been concentrated during recessions, but aggregate investment in technological capital seems procyclical. We examine several potential explanations for this puzzle using a panel of Spanish manufacturing firms that provides highly disaggregated information on employees by occupation. The empirical evidence results show that the decision of adopting new technologies by new innovative firms is countercyclical, and has a much stronger effect on occupational structure than the accumulation of technological capital by old innovative firms.

Does Gendered Occupational Structure Affect Married Adults' Early Retirement Decision? - Shieh, Ching-Yi
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
Abstract: Past studies address that married couples’ joint decision often causes their early retirement. Nevertheless, very few researches demonstrate how gendered labor force structure also plays a role in wives’ early dropout from the labor market. Using the March 2002 Current Population Survey and the multi-level analysis technique (HLM), this project investigates how gender discrimination in the labor force penetrates the individual households and affect couples’ decision-making processes regarding retirement.
The study result shows that while couple’s joint decision has a significant influence on their early retirement outcome, the gender discrimination in the wage market also pushes wives to leave their jobs. Gendered occupational segregation, women’s relative wage, and women’s work hours have statistically significant difference on married women’s early retirement outcome across metropolitan areas. When wives are in the female-dominated jobs they are more likely to retire early. The author concludes that the gendered discrimination in the labor force creates different well-being consequences for married men and women. Women’s disadvantage in the labor force and early retirement will results in their lower wealth accumulation relative to men thereby more economic hardships in their old age.

The Occupational Structure of Further and Higher Education in Ireland and the Netherlands - Borghans,L., Hughes,G., Smits,W.
Abstract: Although most types of education give access to a range of occupations, the educational background determines to a large extent the labour market possibilities of a worker. However, since educational systems vary widely between different countries, there is a question about the specific role of each type of education in a country and the influence of the structure of the educational system as a whole on the relationship between education and the labour market. In this paper a comparison of the occupational structure of further and higher education in Ireland and the Netherlands is made.

Organizations, stratification, and 'The American Occupational Structure.' (Symposium)
Bielby, William T., American Sociological Association in Contemporary Sociology
Abstract: Peter Blau and Otis Duncan influenced the development of a new line of research on the organizational bases of stratification. The concept of structure in Blau and Duncan's 'The American Occupational Structure' (AOS) patterns of social mobility are modeled exclusively in terms of the characteristics of individuals. Thus, research on the organizational bases of stratification has come to provide an image of structure and attainment opposite to the one found in AOS. However, the AOS has an enduring influence in its example of research addressing vital sociological issues with discipline and elegance.

Contact potential and the occupational structure of the British urban system 1961-1966: An empirical study - John Westaway, Department of Geography, London School of Economics,
Regional Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1 March 1974 , pages 57 - 73
Abstract: Westaway J. (1974) Contact potential and the occupational structure of the British urban system 1961-1966: An empirical study, Reg. Studies8, 57-73 The paper reports an analysis of the distribution of the various functions of business organizations. This comprises, firstly, a study of the occupational structure of the British urban system, with special reference to contact-intensive occupations and, secondly, an examination of the distribution of the head office functions of the 1000 largest industrial companies. Administrative activities were also concentrated in the South East, but were being dispersed to other parts of England. In contrast, productive functions dominate the occupational structure of the less prosperous regions of Britain. A later paper will discuss the rationale behind these trends and also their social, economic and political implications.

The New Occupational Structure - What are the Questions? - ANDREW ABBOTT, Rutgers University, Work and Occupations, Vol. 16, No. 3, 273-291 (1989)
In this article I argue that changes in the structure of occupational life over the last half-century have outmoded the classical agenda of questions about occupations and the division of labor. I propose some new questions about this new occupational structure. The first concerns how different types of divisions of labor are established and why those different types are arrayed as they are in the current work world. The second concerns whether occupations in fact have any effective existence in that world. The third involves a critique of both our cultural construction of work and its uncritical acceptance by social scientists. The fourth issue concerns the co-optation of consumers as members of the division of labor. The fifth concerns the intricate modern relation of division of labor, occupation, organization, and such staffing institutions as the educational system.

Occupational Structure and Men's and Women's Parental Values
JOAN Z. SPADE, Lehigh University
Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 12, No. 3, 343-360 (1991)
In examining the values that husbands and wives hold for children in dual-worker families, this article explores the influence of both spouses' positions in the social structure. Persons with higher levels of occupational status, education, and occupational self-direction are more likely to value self-direction for children. However, although women are lower in occupational status, education, income, and occupational self-direction, they are more likely to value self-direction for children. In addition, individuals' parental values are best predicted by their own occupational self-direction and education backgrounds rather than that of their spouses.

Explaining the occupational structure of Dutch sectors of industry, 1988-2003
Frank Corvers and Arnaud Dupuy
Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market
Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Maastricht University
Abstract: We develop a new model to explain the occupational structure of Dutch sectors of industry. The non-homothetic production function we use takes account of capital-skill complementarities, skill-biased technological change and the interaction between labour demand and supply.
We estimate the structural parameters of the model for the period between 1988 and 2003 using system dynamic OLS techniques to account for the employment dynamic dependence across occupations and sectors of industry. The employment series by occupation and sector have both a long run and a short-run relationship with value added, capital and R&D. The short run dynamics can further be decomposed into intra and intersectoral dynamics.
We ?nd that both the long run and short run relationships explain asigni?cant part of employment by occupation and sector of industry. Moreover, employment by occupation and sector is signi?cantly affected by both the intra- and intersectoral dynamics.

Information Economy and Changing Occupational Structure in Singapore
Eddie C.Y. Kuo and Linda Low, The Information Society 17(4)
Using population census data since 1921, this article traces changes in employment and occupational structure in Singapore in the past 80 years. This is a follow-up to an earlier paper by Kuo and Chen (1987) that reported the nascent formation of the information society in Singapore till the 1980s. It also makes an assessment of the role of proactive government policies in directing industrial restructuring and occupational changes in this city-state.

Abstract: The changing association between community occupational structure and ischaemic heart disease mortality in white men and women of the United States from 1968 to 1982 has been investigated. Occupational structure was represented by the proportion of workers in white-collar jobs. A negative association, with lower mortality in communities with higher levels of white-collar employment, emerged over the period in both men and women. The results for men may be interpreted as suggesting a recapitulation in the US of the changing association between social class and heart disease observed in Britain. Occupational structure, however, reflects resources and opportunities in a community derived from its contribution to the national and international economy. Thus the growing inequalities in heart disease mortality presented in this ecological study relate more appropriately to communities than to individual workers.

Joint effects of social class and community occupational structure on coronary mortality among black men and white men, upstate New York.
D L Armstrong, D Strogatz, E Barnett, R Wang
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2003;57:373-378.
Study objective: Occupational structure represents the unequal geographical distribution of more desirable jobs among communities (for example, white collar jobs). This study examines joint effects of social class, race, and county occupational structure on coronary mortality rates for men, ages 35-64 years, in upstate New York.

Self-Employment and Occupational Structure in an Industrializing City: Detroit, 18800
Melanie Archer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Social Forces, Vol. 69, 1991
The occupational and class position of small-scale entrepreneurs have often been viewed as problematic, for example, as to whether self-employment necessarily confers middle-class status ( Form 1982, 1985; Mills 1956; Wright 1979).
The industrialization of the United States in the late nineteenth century has been regarded as a time of historical transition in the meaning of self-employment as a basis of occupational stratification ( Kocka 1980; Mills 1956). Even so, there has been little direct empirical examination of the economic, social, and occupational circumstances of self-employed workers' lives during industrialization ( Blumin 1980; Bruchey 1980; Steinmetz & Wright 1989; Thernstrom 1973).

Influence of Occupational Structure on Economic Performance in Australia
Jerome Clayton BREDT, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.
This thesis examines the composition of employment and unemployment in Australia over the last 25 years and the factors that have influenced them. The published work in this area has dealt mainly with the skilled segment of the workforce. In contrast, the analysis here looks primarily at the position of blue collar workers, who are generally considered to be in the less skilled category. Strong relative growth in the income and employment shares of higher skilled occupations has been documented across many countries over recent decades. Do the compositional changes simply reflect the increasing value of education and training through time as economic activity becomes more complex, or is it that information, as opposed to manual and service skills, is becoming more important? Are the shifts stable and are they permanent? Do workers adjust to them fairly easily? What role has labour market and industry policy, as opposed to market forces, played in the process? And finally, is there a link between the occupational composition of employment and economic performance?