Publications

What You Do at Work Matters: New Lenses on Labour

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Authors

Penny Mealy, University of Oxford
Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School; University of Oxford - Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

R Maria del Rio-Chanona, University of Oxford
Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School

J. Doyne Farmer, University of Oxford
Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School; Santa Fe Institute

Date Written: 18/03/2018
Republished here with permission from the authors 14/01/2019

Abstract

How is work distributed across individuals within society? And what can this tell us about career transition possibilities and job switching opportunities? This paper investigates the network structure of the division of labour by analysing discrete work activities that people undertake in different occupations. We find that what people do in their current job matters for their future job - people are significantly more likely to transition into occupations sharing similar work activities. Moreover, we find that our measure of occupational work-activity similarity is more predictive of job-to-job transitions than existing benchmark measures. We also highlight how our new networks-based lenses on labour can illuminate a range of labour market topics, including the gendered division of labour and the future of work.

Keywords: job transitions, networks, division of labour, tasks, occupations, future of work

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  • About the author

    Dr Penny Mealy, Research Associate

    Penny is a Research Associate at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. In collaboration with Diane Coyle, Penny’s work focuses on a project entitled ‘Practical Wisdom in a Complex World’.   Learn more

    Penny Mealy