Information Technology, Gender Segmentation and the Relocation of Back Office Employment: The Growth of the Teleservices Sector in
Information, Communication & Society, 5 (3).
The movement of routine back office activities from the central business districts
of metropolitan regions in advanced economies to remote locations is leading to
a distinctive global division of labour in office employment. While facilitated by
the development of information and communication technologies, this process
of relocation is primarily driven by the desire to reduce operating costs, mainly
by moving to sources of cheap female workers. This reflects a classic gender
segmentation process in patriarchal societies whereby back office work is mainly
done by women and, accordingly, involves relatively low levels of remuneration.
This provides direct parallels with the offshoring of routine manufacturing work
associated with the new international division of labour. Ireland has been to the
forefront in acting as a host for internationally-mobile routine office work, initially
involving mainly data processing and, more recently, teleservices. As elsewhere,
teleservices employment in Ireland is characterized by a combination of female
predominance, low pay, difficult working conditions and high turnover rates.
However, the Irish teleservices sector is unusual in its foreign language requirement,
the high education levels of workers and its concentration in a prosperous
metropolitan location. The resultant labour shortages, combined with growing
use of Internet-based business-to-consumer transactions, are likely to place the
sustainability of the sector under increasing pressure. Plans to upgrade the types
of back office functions being located in Ireland may pose further challenges for
women workers due to male dominance of the higher-level jobs involved.
||This is an electronic version of an article published in Proinnsias Breathnach (2002): Information Technology, Gender Segmentation and the Relocation of Back Office Employment: The Growth of the Teleservices Sector in Ireland in Information, Communication & Society, 5:3, 320-335. Information, Communication & Society is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13691180210159283
||Information Technology; Gender Segmentation; Back Office; Employment; teleservices sector; Ireland;
||Social Sciences > Geography
||15 Feb 2012 16:43
|Journal or Publication Title:
||Information, Communication & Society
||Taylor & Francis
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