Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation Latest Issues

Below you can find the table of contents for the latest issues of Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation. All articles are Open Access and links to each article are provided below. The journal is hosted on JSTOR and can be found here to read online. 

The labour digital divide: digital dimensions of labour market

Daniel Calderón-Gómez, Belén Casas-Mas, Mariano
Urraco-Solanilla and Juan Carlos Revilla


This paper investigates digitalisation in labour activities within the Spanish population, with the aim of examining its extent and characteristics in relation to the digital divide at work, focusing particularly on access to and use of the internet. It thus aims to analyse the digital dimension of job segregation in the Spanish labour market. Internet use is explored both as an indicator of the type of work carried out and, in aggregate terms, of the broader characteristics of the labour market. The authors argue that a new segmentation of the labour market might be emerging, based on the technological requirements of jobs. The article draws on data from a representative Spanish population survey on how employees access and use the internet at work. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses were performed to describe the correlation between digitalised labour practices and individual sociodemographic conditions. The results show that around a third of Spanish workers are not required to use the internet at work. This population falls into two categories: the ‘analogical precariat’, in poor socio-economic conditions; and ‘traditional analogical labour’, in better quality traditional jobs. Digital workers can be classified into three groups: the ‘digital precariat’ (with a poor economic situation); ‘traditional digital labour’ (mainly involved in productive digital tasks); and the ‘innovative class’ (carrying out productive and communicative digital tasks). The level of education is by far the most important determining variable, in relation both to general and advanced uses. Young people and women are prominent in less complex uses of the internet (the digital precariat), which are usually related to less qualified jobs. The article argues that this represents a more subtle gender discrimination in the digital sphere than in the analogue one, with women being overrepresented in the digital precariat and underrepresented in the innovative class, while also being overrepresented in traditional analogical labour.

Key words: digital divide, ICT, labour market, work digitalisation, digital inequality, post-Fordism


The effects of digitalisation on the labour market: the case of Russia

Liliia Matraeva, Ekaterina Vasiutina and Alexey Belyak


This article looks at the mechanism of formation of new institutional traps in the labour market under conditions of digitalisation of the economy. In particular, the effects of coordination, training and pairing, as well as cultural inertia and lobbying, are analysed as structural elements of institutional traps, which in the labour market create prerequisites for the consolidation of specific social norms that reduce the overall efficiency of the economic system. It proposes that, when all the effects are implemented synchronously, they complement each other in such a way as to contribute to the formation of institutional traps in the labour market when digital technologies are introduced. This leads to an escalation of risks in the labour market, against the background of an aggravated contradiction between supply and demand, leading to a self-sustaining structural imbalance associated with the introduction of digitalisation tools. The article draws attention to inertia in the process of adaptation of public institutions, which prevents the optimal institutional set up being reached, as there is a contradiction between the previously formed model of behaviour of economic agents and the system of management.

Key words: labour market, digitalisation, institutional traps, lock-in effect


Uber in the Portuguese gig economy: a laboratory for platform capitalism

Emanuele Leonardi and Giorgio Pirina


The paper frames the emergence of the Portuguese gig economy within the broader process of platformisation of work in Europe as set in motion by the neoliberal turn at a global scale. Against this background the case of Portugal in general and that of Lisbon in particular are analysed to show both their consistency with the general trends of the European Union’s economic dynamics and their irreducible peculiarities. These latter particularities, and especially the so-called ‘Uber Law’, are discussed in connection with the hypothesis of a specifically Portuguese variety of the gig economy.

Key words: gig economy, Lisbon, platformisation, Portugal, TVDE, Uber Law, wage-earning society


Work-life balance for transnational skilled workers in Sweden

Greti-Iulia Ivana


In the context of globalisation, increased mobility and transnational travelling, long-distance friendships, romantic partnerships and family ties are becoming more and more common.

Against this backdrop, this article focuses on highly skilled employees coming from Romania to Sweden and how they construct their work-life balance there. It analyses the work-life systems of highly skilled migrants in relation both to their co-present and long-distance bonds and overreliance on work networks of contacts, as well as investigating the relation between a particular work-life balance and highly skilled transnational workers’ adoption of serial or circular migration. In doing so, this research asks how the work-life balance of highly skilled migrants can be understood from a life-course standpoint. The originality of this article comes from the interest in the work-life of transnational workers of both genders and of different family configurations, when most research on the topic of work-life balance still focuses almost exclusively on women and tensions between professional demands and traditional family lives.

Key words: skilled migration, knowledge workers, work-life system, bonds, life course


The sticky steps of the career ladder for engineers: the case of first-generation students in Germany

Monika Huesmann, Moira Calveley, Paul Smith, Cynthia Forson and Lisa Rosenbaum


Although governments and higher education institutions across Europe are promoting agendas for widening the educational participation and increasing the social mobility of young people from lower socio-economic groups, very little has been written about the experiences of these individuals when seeking and entering employment. We aim to address this gap. Using a qualitative research approach, we explore the career expectations, experiences and limitations of first-generation university engineering students and graduates in Germany. The article draws upon the work of Pierre Bourdieu to demonstrate how social and cultural capitals instilled by parents and social peers are invaluable in developing personal and professional networks and eventual entry into the engineering professions. A lack of, or underdeveloped, capitals can inhibit career opportunities and ultimately the social mobility and professional choices of graduate engineers. Our research discovered that university graduates from less advantaged backgrounds face a ‘class ceiling’ at university, in obtaining an internship and then when gaining entry to and working in the engineering profession; they encounter ‘sticky steps’ at each stage of their career ladder.

Key words: careers, engineering, first-generation students, Bourdieu, social capital, class ceiling, Germany