In many industrialized countries concern about the ‘quality’ of the jobs created in recent years has increased. Against the background of an extensive shift of employment from manufacturing to services and the rapidly rising qualifications of the workforce, growing earnings inequality, greater job flexibility, labour market deregulation and the decentralization of collective bargaining, coupled with lower unionization and greater competitive pressure, have contributed to a general perception that the overall quality of jobs has deteriorated (European Commission, 2003). This has generated a debate on whether the lower quality of work should be considered as a structural change in the overall quality of jobs – particularly in the service sector – that demands special attention from analysts and policy makers.
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