The Changing World of Work, Bilbao, Spain, October 19-21, 1998. Bilbao, Spain: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 1998 Oct; :8-11
In advanced industrial countries, the last two decades have seen sweeping changes in the nature of work that have been brought about by economic pressures of globalization and deregulation, by technological innovation, and by the growth of service and knowledge work. Responding to these forces, companies have restructured themselves, becoming flatter and smaller; new management practices involving, for example, self-managed teams have been adopted; and leaner, streamlined production methods, such as 'just-in-time" and outsourcing, have been implemented. These adjustments by industry have had significant effects on the conditions of work and employment. The demand for skilled or multi-skilled workers has increased with the growth of information technology and leaner, flexible manufacturing processes that require workers to perform multiple tasks. Supervisory conditions have changed with the introduction of teamwork, the evaporation of middle management, and the trend toward flexiplace or "at home" work arrangements. (An estimated 15 million workers in the U.S. will be telecommuting by the year 2002 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.) Workload demands continue to grow, and hours of work have increased for all occupations. For example, in the period 1985 1993, the percentage of the nonagricultural, salaried U.S. workforce that worked "long" hours (in excess of 48 hours weekly) grew 30 percent, to over 21 million workers. Of special concern, jobs have become less stable and secure. One-third of American Management Association firms downsized their workforce in the period 1990-1995. Complementing this trend, survey data show a doubling (22%-44%) of the percentage of workers with lay-off concerns in the period 1988-1996. Additionally, alternative employment practices (other than full time, direct hire) are on the rise. For example, temporary employment has increased nearly 400% in the U.S. since the early 1980's.
The Changing World of Work, Bilbao, Spain, October 19-21, 1998