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Sectoral and geographical mobility of workers after large establishment cutbacks or closures
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3570-7690
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8644-4766
Handelshögskolan, Göteborgs universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8081-5095
2018 (English)In: Environment and planning A, ISSN 0308-518X, E-ISSN 1472-3409, Vol. 50, no 5, p. 1071-1091Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper studies redundant workers’ industrial and geographical mobility, and the consequences of post-redundancy mobility for regional policy strategies. This is accomplished by means of a database covering all workers who became redundant in major shutdowns or cutbacks in Sweden between 1990 and 2005. Frequencies of industrial and geographical mobility are described over time, and the influence of some important characteristics that make workers more likely to be subject to particular forms of mobilities are assessed. We find that re-employment rates vary extensively across industries and time. Whereas going back to the same or related industries is the most common re-employment strategy among workers who find a new job in the first year, workers who do not benefit from quick re-employment are increasingly squeezed out to new job fields and regions. Older workers and workers with high vested interest in their original industries usually employ a “same-industry/same-region” strategy. This most frequent, and perhaps often most attractive, same-industry strategy comes at a cost, however. Individuals who instead pursue other mobility strategies have a lower risk of suffering from another major redundancy in the future. Thus, in terms of regional policy, strategies promoting diversification to related industries after major redundancies seem to be much more important than trying to retain workers in their old industry. In this case the route via education (university or vocational training) is important, as it increases the likelihood of successfully changing industry at time of re-employment. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 50, no 5, p. 1071-1091
Keywords [en]
redundancy, re-employment, labour mobility, industry relatedness
National Category
Economic Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-146087DOI: 10.1177/0308518X18772581ISI: 000440019400009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85050760808OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-146087DiVA, id: diva2:1194056
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2013-1313Available from: 2018-03-28 Created: 2018-03-28 Last updated: 2018-10-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Returning to Work: geographies of Employment in Turbulent Times
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Returning to Work: geographies of Employment in Turbulent Times
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis adds to theorizations of resilience, by placing workers and employment on the center stage. This has been addressed by contextualizing gross employment changes and workers’ way back to employment after redundancy. Swedish longitudinal microdata from 1990-2010 were used. This made it possible to study employer-employee links that disappeared and appeared, and to follow redundant workers over time and space. 

The empirical findings conclude there are big regional differences in resilience, absorptive capacity and employment growth. The trajectories of regional net employment growth are diverging – an unequal spatial development that might become reinforced with time as the empirical results show that resilience is a path-dependent phenomenon. Moreover, industry proximity is an important factor when analyzing both regional absorptive capacity and labour matching, thus significantly affecting worker adaptability in times of turbulence.

This is explained by the frictions and skill (mis)matching that arise in the labour market and in new employment positions due to industry proximities. A cohesive and diverse region is more resistant to shocks as well as adaptable in the aftermath of the crisis, while a specialized region is more sensitive and less resilient in general. In addition, a worker facing redundancy in a region where there is a big share of the same or related industries to the industry she became redundant from decreases the time to re-employment as there is a big supply of jobs that need similar skills and competences. However, there are significant differences in the mobilities of redundant workers, where some groups are more inclined to diversify into new regions and industries, while some have more invested in the industry and region. However, staying in the same industry that experienced the major lay-off means a less stable employment, but moving into unrelated industries increases the workers’ chances of experiencing skill mismatch and becoming underemployed. Finding a new job in related industries means a more stable employment and increases the chances of upward mobility. 

In conclusion, based on these findings, it is argued in the thesis that regional branching into related industries is a good regional resilience strategy. However, it needs to be combined with policies aiming for related labour branching as well in order to be able to reallocate skills into new parts of the economy while avoiding skill mismatch. This provides a good base for regional diversification that can result in path re-orientation and renewal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2018. p. 68
Series
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2018:3
Keywords
Regional resilience, adaptability, industry relatedness, labour branching, redundancy, industry mix, re-employment, industry mobility, regional mobility
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152944 (URN)978-91-7601-969-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-11-23, Hörsal B, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-02 Created: 2018-10-30 Last updated: 2018-11-13Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, RikardHane-Weijman, EmelieHenning, Martin

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