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Session Overview
RN09_07a: The Study of Labour and Labour Markets
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Sebastian Koos, University of Konstanz
Location: BS.3.16
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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A Turntable Towards Entrepreneurship? Examining the Influence of Migration upon Romanian Returnees’ Entrepreneurial Practices

Alin Croitoru1,2

1Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania; 2University of Bucharest (CeSMig), Romania

During the last decades, Romanian migration gained increasing momentum which led to over three million citizens living nowadays in other European countries (EUROSTAT 2018). Romanian migration is marked by heterogeneity in terms of destinations, motivations for emigration and return, as well as the length of time spent abroad (Sandu et al. 2018, Vlase and Voicu 2018). As a consequence, various forms of return migration to Romania receive increased attention from national policy makers (Șerban and Croitoru 2018) and scholars interested in certain effects of the Romanian return migration (Anghel and Cosciug, 2018; Croitoru 2018; Sandu et al. 2018). In this paper, we set out to develop a theoretical framework at the intersection of the return migration scholarship and entrepreneurship research (Ilahi 1999; Black, King, and Tiemoko 2003; Ammassari 2004; Lianos and Pseiridis 2009; Liu et al. 2010; Reiner and Radu 2012; Kenney, Breznitz, and Murphree 2013; Sabar and Pagis 2015; Sinatti 2015; Mayer, Harima, and Freiling 2015). Against this theoretical background, we make use of empirical data collected from Romanian returnees who lived for a while in other EU countries. Combining survey data and in-depth interviews, we analyse the role of migration experiences in shaping individuals’ occupational trajectories. On the one hand, the presentation provides a general outline of Romanian returnees’ propensity towards entrepreneurship. On the other hand, attention is paid to several types of capitals used by entrepreneurs in conducting their businesses upon return (economic, human and social capital). This multi-dimensional approach allows us to understand who are the return migrants who turn into entrepreneurs as well as the intricate complexity of individuals’ labour decisions upon return.

Youth Employment in the IT Sector in Cluj-Napoca - Using the Perspective of Employers and Lecturers

Kinga Székely

Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

The aim of the present paper is to give an answer to the research question: Is the IT sector dependent on youth? In case of a suportive answer the paper will examine: Which are those factors that affect the demand for youth labor? We answer these questions with using qualitative research in Romania, in the 2nd biggest IT center of the country, in Cluj-Napoca. The research is based on interviews with two target groups. First, lecturers of the two biggest universities in Cluj-Napoca were interviewed, who presented the role of the higher education and their tools to reduce labor shortage. Secondly, private companies were interviewed about How do they recruit their workforce? And which are the leading skills that result in employment at their companies?

According to the lecturers, the results show that strong rudiments are more important than specific technological user experience in finding a good job in the IT sector. At the same time, they urge stronger cooperation between the faculties of higher education institutions, state and companies in order to fight against labor shortage on long-term. According to the employers, different recruit methods lead to success, depending on the position level or the position type. Internships and mentor program claim for prior cooperation between student and employer, they are the best recruit methods for junior positions. Professional knowledge is a necessary condition, but not sufficient to find a good job. Employers highlight besides the importance of soft skills in the IT sector.

Flexible Work: Tracing the Ambiguity of a Concept

Jacob Boult

University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Flexible work and labour market flexibility are ambiguous and contested concepts, in themselves and in the relations between them. The first part of the paper seeks to draw out these conceptual ambiguities. First, by discussing a range of contrasting working practices commonly described as flexible, and second by demonstrating how the identification of flexible work with labour market flexibility is a false one. Given that flexible work is used to describe practices more often categorically separated across virtually the full range of working arrangements observed under contemporary capitalism (from any arrangement divergent from the ‘standard employment relationship’ to some practices within it, from flexible-precarious work to flexibility at worker-discretion) the meaningfulness of the concept is called into question.

The first part of the paper begs the question, why have flexible work and labour market flexibility come to be ambiguous and contested concepts? Drawing primarily on the work of Nancy Fraser, Luc Boltanksi and Eve Chiapello an explanation is offered by framing the rise of flexibility in work and labour market policy as a response to, resignification and ultimate forsaking of two sets of bottom-up demands emanating from the Fordist era. These are worker’s demands for greater creativity in less hierarchical and bureaucratic organisations, and feminist critiques of the ‘male breadwinner model’. The paper closes with preliminary reflections on definitional approaches to disambiguating the more human working practices associated with flexibility at worker-discretion, from flexibility at firm-discretion. The paper presents work-in-progress toward a section of the theoretical framework of my PhD.

The Degradation of the Labour Market in Southern Italy, Resulting in Precariousness and Exploitation

Fabio Mostaccio, Domenica Farinella

University of Messina, Italy

In the last three decades policies of neoliberalism have influenced the world economy including that of Italy, which has set up an economic pattern based on accumulation by dispossession (Harvey: 2006). This results in value extraction due to the redistribution or expropriation of value that was made by others (Mazzucato: 2018), as often happens when financial accumulation or labour exploitation leads to increased profit maximization (Foundation Economy Collective: 2018). Subsequent consequences are income loss and social inequalities, which affects those who live in already disadvantaged areas. In Southern Italy, where public sector jobs reduced unemployment and increased incomes, neoliberal solutions, following a spending review and the privatisation of public services, created at least three interconnected outcomes: a) a transformative demotion of the labour market as a effect of shadow economy growth resulting in changes in job roles and less job security for workers; b) a permanent growth of the migration of Italian people present statistical data is similar to the time of trente glorieuses; c) a significant increase of socio-spatial polarization, between social classes as well as Northern and Southern Italy.

Within this framework, the paper aims to present the results from two different long-term research projects carried out in Messina concerning the precariousness of the job market between 2008-2015, which analysed, using qualitative methodologies such as “in-depth interviews”, the degradation of the labour market in marginal areas. Moreover, it proposes to engage with the on-going debate that in recent years has been introduced by Foundational Economy studies.

Theorizing Labor Markets in Economic Sociology. A German Perspective

Simon Weingärtner

Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg, Germany

Despite an observable increase of theoretical publications on labor markets in recent years, there is yet no systematic discussion on labor market theories in contemporary sociology. In order to fill this gap, the aim of this contribution is to collect and systematize sociological and socio-economic theories which implicitly or explicitly describe labor market structures from different perspectives. The selected approaches draw on a variety of theoretical traditions and shall be systematized in three analytical dimensions.

First and utmost, the different approaches are classified according to their basic theoretical assumptions (whether they prioritize economic or sociological explanations/logics; whether they focus primarily on structural or agency aspects). Secondly, the selected theories are examined regarding their middle-range-assumptions on the driving forces of labor market inequality (e. g. actors, institutions, discourse orders) – which of course are linked to the basic assumptions. The third element are the proposed hypotheses on the structure of contemporary labor markets and possible trajectories of change (e. g. precarization, segmentation, dualization).

As a result of the systematization, it can be shown that a middle-range-comparison of very heterogenous concepts is possible and that all selected approaches can be assigned to four distinct theoretical fields or “families”. In order to demonstrate the yet widely untapped analytical potential of contemporary sociological theories on the subject, a particular focus will be given to approaches in “field IV” (structure / social logics) which emphasize the significance of political power structures and discourse orders for the (trans-)formation of labor market structures.

This contribution is based on prior research on (mostly) German language publications (Weingärtner 2019) but selected international contributions are addressed as well.

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