The rise of the information economy is dramatically transforming work and employment conditions around the globe. Who does the work, how it is done, and the results it produces for individuals and their families, for organizations and for society, is undergoing fundamental change. This book contributes to our understanding of the transformation of work in the information economy, through a detailed examination of labor markets in Silicon Valley. It provides an original and insightful analysis of flexible labor including growing volatility in work demands and increasingly tenuous employment relations. In shaping this context of rapid change, it examines the increasingly important role of labor market intermediaries. These new labor dynamics, shaped by flexibility and intermediation, create difficult and contradictory conditions for workers. Some workers clearly thrive in this vibrant context, but many face high levels of insecurity amidst growing inequality.
Chris Benner is Assistant Professor of Geography at Pennsylvania State University.
List of Figures.List of Tables.Acknowledgments.Preface.Introduction.Flexibility.Intermediaries.Careers.Research Data.Part I: Flexibility and the Transformation of Work and Employment.1. Understanding Flexibility.Labor Markets in the Information Economy.Flexible Work and Flexible Employment.2. Silicon Valley: Changing Industry Structure and Employment Practices.Flexible Work and Employment Practices.Economic Change and Flexibility.Conclusion: Flexbility and Volatility.Appendix: Industry Cluster Analysis.Part II: Flexibility and Intermediaries.3. Flexibility and Intermediation.Labor Market Intermediaries.Intermediation and Markets.Intermediation and Flexible Labor Markets.Conclusion: Increasing Intermediation.4. Labor Market Intermediaries: Private Sector.Temporary Help Agencies.Consultant Brokerage Firms.Web-based Intermediaries.Employer of Record.Professional Employer Organizations.Conclusion: The Labor Market as Business Opportunity.5. Labor Market Intermediaries: Membership Based.Blurring Boundaries.Silicon Valley Membership-based Intermediaries.Conclusion: Building Community-based Careers.6. Labor Market Intermediaries: Public Sector.Workforce Development System.Education-based Intermediaries.Non-profit/Community-based Initiatives.Conclusion: Challenges to Training and Workforce Development.Part III: Flexibility and Careers.7. Careers in Silicon Valley.Growing Inequality.Flexibility and Labor Market Outcomes.Intermediaries and Labor Market Outcomes.Conclusion: Significant Problems Exist.Appendix: Silicon Valley Wage Data.8. Flexbility and Security.New Concepts for Labor Markets in the Information Economy.Intermediaries and Labor Market Policy.Labor Flexibility and a New Employment Contract.A Final Word.Bibliography.Index.