The polarization of job growth is a key development trend in today’s labour markets. This study focuses mainly on those individuals whose jobs are most strongly threatened by the negative aspects of polarizing labour markets. These people are working in private-sector jobs, the employment role of which is weakening. In other words, a shrinking share of private-sector employees is engaged in these jobs. Moreover, these jobs are typically not only characterized by a declining employment share, but often by a reduction also in absolute terms. Accordingly there is reason to ask what is happening to the employees holding such jobs. What do their job careers look like and do their labour market outcomes vary depending on the jobs they perform? Which factors and mechanisms affect the observed job careers and to what extent?
The occupations identified to have been declining are Office clerks, Metal, machinery and related trades workers, Other craft and related trades workers, Wood-processing and papermaking plant operators, Rubber, paper, and textile products machine operators, and Product assemblers. The labour market status of the individuals working in these occupations in 1995 is traced up to 2009. Additionally, attempts are made to identify the background factors having most strongly affected the individual transition patterns observed. The results suggest, inter alia, that Office clerks have had the best prospects to shift to another job, that is, either to a non-shrinking occupation in the private sector or to a job in the public sector. Apart from the occupation itself, especially age and formal education stand out as having been decisive for the individual’s future labour market outcomes.