NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED440261
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Jul
Pages: 5
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1059-2776
The Future of Low-Wage Service Jobs and the Workers That Hold Them. IEE Brief No. 25.
Bernhardt, Annette
The business press abounds with examples of innovative companies that have created high-quality jobs; however, low-wage, deskilled jobs filled by contingent workers are equally prevalent. More than one in six U.S. workers currently hold retail jobs. The effect of globalization of trade on the retail industry is unclear. The most significant development to date is that the retail market has, according to many analysts, become highly congested and overbuilt. The leading retail strategy is the Wal-Mart model, which includes a "low-road" human resource approach. Sales jobs are dead-end jobs, starting pay is at or near minimum wage, raises are given yearly but not guaranteed, and the low pay is exacerbated by short and uncertain work schedules and the lack of opportunity to work sufficient hours each week to produce a livable paycheck. Upward mobility in the retail sector is limited. Most retail firms choose to import educated workers rather than train incumbent workers. The problem of mobility is not limited to the retail sector. Although skilled workers in professional occupations may be able to create new career paths that preserve their opportunities, opportunities for upward mobility do not look promising for the more numerous occupations further down the ladder. (Contains 12 references.) (MN)
Institute on Education and the Economy, Box 174, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail: For full text:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William T. Grant Foundation, Washington, DC. Commission on Youth and America's Future.
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. Inst. on Education and the Economy.