A Global Labour Market for Digital Work?

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Joerg FLECKER, University of Vienna, Austria
The pervasiveness of new ICT brings about new constellations of space and time for work in a wide variety of industries and business functions. Since the wave of offshoring in the 1990s and 2000s, service functions, including customer service, software development, creative work and administrative tasks have become highly dispersed in companies' search for lower cost and relevant skills. The relocation of work at a global scale, best epitomized by the ascent of India’s IT and business process outsourcing industries, signaled the emergence of a new‘new international division of labour’. In addition to the dynamics of global value chains and networks, internet-based crowdsourcing platforms accelerate the delocalization of work. This development of new business models and forms of work enabled by the internet further contribute to ‘new geographies’ of work in the digital economy. What is more, work itself seems to move to global information spaces and to become virtual when work objects are digital and tools and knowledge are standardized at a global scale with the Internet providing access to information spaces from all localities with sufficient connectivity.  These processes intensify the worldwide competition between educated workers which results, in some circumscribed sectors and occupations, in a global labour market.

This contribution is based on the findings of the working group on ´New geographies and the new spatial division of virtual labour´ of the European COST Action ‘Dynamics of Virtual Work’. It maps the emergence of, and the limitations to, global labour markets for digital work in IT, IT enabled services, creative industries and related business areas taking into account the dynamics of global value chains, the virtualization of organizations and the development of crowdsourcing platforms.