Unskilled work declines as computer skill requirements increase

Unskilled
work is becoming much harder to find, according to research.

The
report by the ESRC Research Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational
Performance – based at Oxford and Warwick Universities – finds the number of
jobs where computer literacy is essential jumped from 31% to 40% between 1997
and 2001.

In
2001 only 27% of posts needed no qualifications, down from 38% in 1986.

Nearly
three-quarters of jobs involve using computers – up from 53% only a decade ago,
claims the study’s team of economists.

The
proportion of employees who said they had plenty of discretion on how they did
their jobs fell from 52% in 1986 to 39% in 2001. This is fuelling job
dissatisfaction, say the researchers.

Professor
Francis Green of Kent University, who led the team, said: "The good news
is that increasing job skills provide the basis for improved economic
prosperity, and that computer skills are growing in all sectors of the economy.

"But
the downside is that many people are finding they are being given less
discretion and choice in their daily tasks and this makes them less satisfied
with their jobs."

The
research was based on interviews with 4,500 people in Britain aged 20 to 60.

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