Making Bad Jobs Good: Strategies for the Service Sector

  • Paul Osterman


The question of services and service employment and what to do about it, is a fundamental issue. For example, in the United States 78% of all low wage women in America work in services. So services are clearly important as far as the issues of low earnings and poverty are concerned. I will begin by presenting some basic facts about service employment in America and what the trends have been and I will describe what I think are the essential features or characteristics of structural change in the US labour market. I will illustrate this by giving two examples from banking and hotels about how restructuring in services is taking place. I will then turn to the question of policy and describe the US policy environment, the role of some traditional policies which I think often get overlooked in the discussion and finally discuss what I regard as a kind of the frontier or the direction of some of the more innovative policy initiatives.


Labour Market Minimum Wage Employment Growth Business Service Labour Market Policy 
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  1. Hammer, M. and J. Champy (1993) Reengineering the Corporation (New York: Harper- Collins).Google Scholar
  2. Peters, T. and R. H. Waterman Jr (1982) In Search of Excellence (New York: Harper & Row).Google Scholar

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© Paul Osterman 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Osterman

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