Occupational change and social polarisation in Ireland: further evidence
Breathnach, Proinnsias (2007) Occupational change and social polarisation in Ireland: further evidence. Irish Journal of Sociology, 16 (1). pp. 22-42. ISSN 0791-6035
This paper extends to the year 2002 that section of an earlier paper (Breathnach 2002b) which considered whether the pattern of occupational change occurring in Ireland during the period 1991-1996 indicated the operation of processes of social polarisation. The occupational categories contained in the Census of Population were recast in order to create a set of broad groups which facilitated analysis from a social polarisation perspective. This analysis demonstrated strong growth, on the one hand, in the numbers of employers & managers and professional & technical workers and, on the other, in certain unskilled occupational groups (personal services and retail sales) – the latter following the allocation to these groups of the bulk of the greatly-expanded number of workers who failed to state their occupation in the 2002 census. Meanwhile, key middle-income groups, including bluecollar industrial, clerical and public service workers experienced contraction in their overall share of employment. These findings provide considerable support for the social polarisation hypothesis, albeit in the context of overall professionalisation of the occupational structure. Female workers have been to the fore in driving these processes of change, in that there has been aboveaverage growth of female employment in those occupational categories at both ends of the occupational spectrum.
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