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Technology, Women, and Work: Policy Perspectives ELI GINZBERG THE CHANGING ROLE OF AMERICAN WOMEN In the mid-1950s, the National Manpower Council decided by only a single vote that "womanpower" was a subject worth exploring (National Manpower Council, 1957~. And in the early 1960s, when Barnard College required that its students attend a series of lectures on jobs and careers, my lecture elicited] only bored faces and clicking knitting needles. Most of the students were not interested in the advice that ~ offered: to study calculus and to gain mastery over the quantitative approaches in one of the natural or social sciences, which, ~ assured them, would provide them not only access to a job, but to a job with prospects. Early in the era of the feminine mystique, their minds and emotions were focused in other directions (Ginzberg and Yohalem, 1966; Ginzberg et al., 1966~. These recollections are presented to contrast with the situation today, when many college-educated women are studying a broader range of subjects and are making an increasing commitment to the labor force. The growing importance of women in the U.S. labor market, where they now account for 43 percent of all workers, a 3
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4 POLICY PERSPECTIVES percentage that continues to grow, is a recent phenomenon. But during this short time—since around 1950- there have been many striking changes in the relation of women to work. Witness the following: . Over half of all women aged 16 to 64 work, and the pro- portion is almost two-thirds for those who are at the end of their childbearing period. ~ Although it is true that more women than men work less than full-time, year-round, most women who work, like most men are regular workers who hold full-time jobs. ~ Gender remains a critical determinant of the types of jobs and careers available to,~vomen, but it is not nearly as strong a discrirn~natory influence as it was in the past. In law, medical, and graduate business schools, women students account for at least one-third of the graduates, up from less than one-tenth as recently as the mid-1960s. For the first time in the nation's history, women outnumber men among students enrolled in colleges and universities. ~ In the third of a century since 1950, women have accounted for three out of every five new additions to the labor force. . ,, The explosive growth of the service sector, which today accounts for more than 70 percent of total employment and total output, was both a cause and an effect of the availability of women workers (Stanback et al., 1981~. ~ Although the antidiscrimination laws and regulations of the 1960s and early 1970s and the changed attitudes and behavior of employers opened up many hitherto restricted fields of work to women (beyond the professions noted above), women continue to be heavily concentrated in a narrow set of occupations. Some 20 fields account for two out of every three women workers. ~ Over the last half century the occupational group that has experienced the most rapid rate of growth has been clerical workers, which is a reminder of the need to consider not only the broad potential impacts of technology but to narrow the focus to specific technologies that are likely to have a strong impact on women workers. ~ For the first time in the nation's history, white men no longer constitute the majority of the work force. Women, together with black, Hispanic, and other minority males, today account for more than half of the work force.
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ELI GINSBERG 5 These observations suggest that our analysis pursue a middle road. We must continue to be sensitive to the patterns that un- derlie the place of women in the world of work, but we must also consider that women account for close to half of the entire work force and their future jobs and careers will therefore be affected by the broad labor market developments that will affect all workers. OBSERVATIONS ON CHANGING TECHNOLOGY Technological changes are a way of life for industrial societies, but most innovations involve changes in processes or products that are relatively circumscribed. Even when a significant technological improvement occurs, such as the discovery and manufacture of nylon or the development of the electric typewriter, the impact on the labor market is likely to be absorbed without serious job losses, because among other reasons the lower price or improved quality tends to increase demand. The number of jobs placed at risk by even significant new technology is relatively small and is likely to be stretched out over a period of years. Most textile mills made the transition from natural to artificial fibers without having to lay off large numbers of workers; the same was true of some of the companies that had earlier manufactured standard typewriters and had made the transition to electric, electronic, or computerized typewriters. There have been major technological breakthroughs, however, such as the development of the railroad, the telephone, electric power, the automobile, and the airplane, in which the impacts on work and workers were more pervasive, although it should be noted that these impacts were fully diffused only after long periods, often decades or generations. Whereas we will soon celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the first automobile, some outlying families still are not connected to an electric grid, and in some areas a home telephone is still not affordable by every family. The development of the microprocessor and the linking of per- sonal computers into communications networks are major techno- logical breakthroughs that have the promise of affecting the U.S. economy and way of life on the order of magnitude of the railroad and the automobile. We must allow for the possibility that the computer wiD prove even more revolutionary, since it has the po- tential of altering not only the movement of people and goods but the nature of work itself (Ginzberg et aI., 1986~.
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6 POLICY PERSPECTIVES It must be emphasized, however, that no matter how dramatic the new technology may become, it has been in existence for a third of a century and it would be difficult to point to its having had large-scale adverse effects on significant groups of workers, mate or female, during that period. The most serious charges that can be levied against it are that there have been "silent firings" (that is, workers not hired) and other negatives such as some deskilling of jobs, downscaling of opportunities, and health hazards. But to date the new technology has been positively correlated with the continued growth of the service sector and in particular with the expansion of women's employment. Of all the effects of economic forces on the labor market— overall growth, cyclical change, structural shifts, and technological change the last will surely be the least important a decade from now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in the 1980s only about 15 percent of the changes that occur in job struc- ture will be ascribable to technology; 85 percent will be due to the cyclical and structural movements of the economy (Kutscher, 1985~. In sum, the following conclusions are evident: (1) women's share of total employment has been mounting rapicIly and is likely to increase further, until women account for half of all workers; (2) this growth has been closely associated with the differentially rapid growth of the service sector; (3) while women are no longer as closely confined to a few major occupational fields, they re- main heavily concentrated; (4) the microprocessor and computer- communications linkages are likely to affect clisproportionately the clerical arena in which women workers are heavily concentrated; and (5) even if the new technology were to have a strong impact on existing patterns of work, the consequences would be manifest only over relatively long periods of time. POLICY PERSPECTIVES FRAMING THE ISSUES As noted above, the single most important short-term deter- mina~t of the labor market experience of women (in fact, all) workers will be the growth rate of the U.S. economy and the tim- ing and severity of the next recession. We are now in the fourth year of recovery from two back-to-back recessions, which started
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ELI GINSBERG 7 in 1979 and ended in 1982. If past is prologue, there is only 1 chance in about 100 that, if President Reagan remains in office throughout the whole of his second administration, the nation will escape a new recession. At this time (August 1986), the outlook for the year still appears to most forecasters to be positive. The expansionary capacity of the economy does not appear as yet to have met its potential. But it would be an error to overlook the major economic problems that continue to exist: (1) the $900 bil- lion debt of the less developed countries (LDCs); (2) the annual $170 billion deficit of the United States in its foreign trade; (3) the continuing high value of the dollar against many currencies; (4) the federal budgetary deficits that loom ahead as far as one can see; and (5) the still high real rate of interest. In my view, if the leading industrial countries fad! to attack these five prob- lems conjointly and effectively, the prospect of a severe recession with large-scale labor market consequences is not only possible but probable. There is steadily accumulating evidence that the United States and other advanced economies are confronting a sea change in the internationalization of their economies as evidenced by the following: ~ the spectacular spurt in imports to the United States from the LDCs (with adverse effects in this country on many nondurable manufacturing sectors with large numbers of women workers, such as apparel manufacturing); ~ the relocation overseas of major labor-intensive jobs in durable manufacturing such as electronic components (again with a heavy impact on women workers); ~ the extraordinary transfer of capital funds to the United States, mostly from Europe and Japan, part of which are for investment in plant and equipment and part of which are held in money market instruments; ~ the never-ending trade negotiations that are aimed, in the short run, at protecting U.S. jobs (as in automobiles and steel) and, in the longer run, at reducing tariff and nontariff barriers in international trade (the United States has been taking the leadership to expand the General Agreement on liade and Tariffs [GATT] to include services, a high employment area for women workers [Noyelle and Dutka, 1987~.
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8 POLICY PERSPECTI VES As long as the U.S. economy remains expansionary, the odds favor the maintenance, or even the reduction, of barriers affecting international trade in goods and services. But, in my view, we are dangerously close to a reversal of our long-term efforts to reduce trade barriers. If the next recession is severe or prolonged, it is probable that we wit] not be able to avoid new barriers. Since the United States is the dominant market for the exports of both developed and developing countries, we must exercise restraint to avoid erecting new protective trade barriers. The decade of the 1930s provides one salient example of beggar-your-neighbor policy. The lessons learned have helped to set and keep the developed world on the path to freer international trade, but there is a growing risk that these lessons have begun to fade. The most important question with regard to the future impact of technology on women's employment is whether the sanguine re- sults of the last 20 years can be projected to the remaining years of this century and beyond. The optimist might contend that there is no reason to expect more "disturbance" in the years ahead than we have experienced over the past two decades, which saw the computer revolution resulting in few, if any, dysfunctional effects. The pessimist, of course, sees the future differently. In his or her view, the linkage of the computer to communications networks, which is only now hitting its stride, will have a range of adverse consequences for women's employment: first, by eliminating a number of white-collar positions, and second, by making possible the further relocation of many back-office positions from central cities to the suburbs, to distant communities, and also to overseas locations, particularly to English-literate populations. The pes- sim~st goes further and points to the downskiDing of jobs and the degrading of careers that often accompany accelerated computer- ization. As an iconoclast, ~ am unpersuaded by either the optimistic or the pessimistic forecast. There are three key elements in my view of the future. First, the computer revolution has reached a point where it is likely to have a greater "displacements effect on women's employment over the next 15 years than it has had in the past. A simple projection of the past fails to take into account the fact that computer technology is now on a steeper curve; employers and employees are more willing and able to adapt to it since more than 70 percent of all jobs are in the service sector. Moreover, since U.S.
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ELI GINSBERG 9 management is striving to become and remain cost-competitive in the world marketplace, it must reduce its white-collar payrolls; wider reliance on the computer offers reasonable prospects for success in this effort. Second, productivity can increase in the service sector. Over the last half century, employment in agriculture has decreased from 20 percent of the total labor force to under 3 percent; in manufacturing, employment has declined from close to two-fifths to under one-fifth. For many years neither the tools (computer) and communications resources nor the organizational structure and managerial know-how were available to run large organizations without many layers of staff. further, we learned only recently how to tie large numbers of small units, owned or franchised, into a single organization, but today we are the worId's leader in these structures—from hotels and fast food establishments to banks. This experience has proved that earlier economists were wrong when they said that services were immune to economies of scale and postulated that they suffered from the "cost disease," with continued dependence on additional labor resulting inevitably in higher costs (Baumol, 1967~. Third, the new products and services that may be developed are as yet unknown. The expectation that the computer will first slow, and eventually reverse, the absolute and relative gains made by clerical workers in the past several decades is only one aspect of the future. What remains uncertain is whether and how quickly the computer-communications link-up is likely to generate the creation of new products and services that will lead to the employment of large numbers of new workers, both women and men. One has to engage in a historical experiment and identify the types of employment opened up by the widespread introduction of the automobile from the tens of thousands of people who obtained new jobs in our national parks to millions of construction workers who built homes in the suburbs. As the time period is extended and the technology becomes more pervasive, it is more difficult and less relevant to assess the impact of a new innovation on total employment. Too many other factors intervene to influence the outcome.
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10 POLICY PERSPECTIVES TABLE 1 Large Occupations (more than 1 million workers) in Which Women Accounted for at Least Half of All Workers, 1982 Occupation All Workers Percent (millions) Women Registered nurses, dieticians, therapists Teachers, except college Sales workers, retail Bookkeepers Cashiers Office machine operators Secretaries Typists Assemblers Food service workers Health service workers (excluding nurses) Personal service workers Priorate household 1.7 3.3 2.4 2.0 1.7 1.1 3.8 1.0 1.1 4.8 2.0 1.9 1.0 92 71 70 92 87 75 99 97 54 66 90 77 97 NOTE: Civilians, 16 years old and over. SOURCE: Bureau of the Census (1983:Table 696~. ARE WOMEN WORKERS AT RISK? The question of whether women workers are at risk is critical for the reasons noted earlier, namely, that such a high propor- tion of women workers are concentrated within a relatively limited number of occupational groupings and they account for a differen- tially larger number of all workers in selected industries. Tables 1 and 2 provide the critical data. Two important points can be derived from Table 1. First, the 13 occupational groups shown in the table account for more than half of all women workers. Second, the six occupational fields dominated by women (90 percent or more of all workers) account for one out of every four women workers. What the table does not show is that the occupational distribution of men workers is much less concentrated. Since our primary concern is to assess the probable impact of technology on women's employment in the remaining years of this century, it may be helpful to consider what happened in the years 1972-1982 to the female-dominated occupational areas,
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ELI GINSBERG 11 particularly those areas in which technology in general and com- puter technology specifically have made significant advances. The total number of sales workers remained stable during the years 1972-1982, as did the proportion of women workers. There was a significant increase in the number of bookkeepers, from 1.6 mil- lion to 2.0 million, and the share of women in the field increased from slightly under 90 percent to slightly over this proportion. The number of cashiers increased at a far higher rate than the number of bookkeepers, from 1.0 million to 1.7 million, but there was no increase in the proportion of women, which remained at 87 percent. Office machine workers expanded from under 700,000 to 1.l million, and the proportion of women increased from 71 to 75 percent. There was a modest increase in the number of factory assemblers, from 1.022 million to 1.087 million, and the share of women increased from 47 to 54 percent. Several points are worth noting. In a number of fields in which women workers predominated, total employment (men and women) increased significantly. For the most part, the proportion of women workers as a percentage of all workers did not change appreciably. Most important, none of the data suggest that the computer and related technology displaced large numbers of work- ers in fields where women were heavily concentrated. We can supplement our understanding of what transpired In the recent past by looking at employment in industries where women account for half or more of all employees. Table 2 illustrates that, with the single exception of private household employment, which sustained a decline of one-half million, the industries char- acterized by a predominance of women workers expanded in the years following 1970. The optimistic implications of this recent experience with re- spect to total employment trends and their impact on women workers, however, must not be uncritically projected into the fu- ture. It is important to review the projections to 1995 of the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BES]. Table 3 presents the 8 femaTe- dominated occupational categories of the 13 categories for which the BES foresees the largest job growth: secretaries, nurses' aides, salespersons, cashiers, professional nurses, office clerks, waitresses, and kindergarten and elementary school teachers. Each of the above categories will add, according to the BES, between 230,000 and 560,000 new jobs by 1995. Together they account for 20 per- cent of all anticipated job growth. Most of these occupations are .
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12 POLICY PERSPECTIVES TABLE 2 1970 and 1982 Employment in Industries in Which Women Accounted for at Least Half of All Workers in 1982 Industry All Workers (millione) Percent Women 1970 1982 1970 1982 Retail trade 12.3 16.6 46 52 Finance, insurance, and real estate Banking and finance 1.7 2.8 58 64 Insurance and real estate 2.2 3.5 45 52 Personal services Private households 1.8 1.3 89 85 Hotels and lodging chains 1.0 1.3 68 66 Professional and related services Hospitals 2.8 4.3 77 76 Health services 1.6 3.5 71 76 Teachers, all levels 6.1 7.6 62 66 NOTE: Civilians, 16 years old and over. SOURCE: Bureau of the Census (1983:Table 698~. TABLE 3 Female-Dominated Occupations with Largest Projected Job Growth, 1984-1995 Change in Total Percent of Employment Total Occupation (thousande) Job Growth Cashiers 556 3.6 Nurses, registered 452 2.8 Waiters and waitresses 424 2.7 Nurses' aides and orderlies 348 2.2 Salespersons, retail 343 2.2 Teachers, kindergarten and elementary 281 1.9 Secretaries 268 1.7 General office clerks 231 1.4 SOURCE: Silvestri and Lukasiewics (1985:Table 3~. not the most rapidly growing ones, but even a sIow-growing large occupation adds more to women's employment. The BES forecasts have held up reasonably well, at least in total if not in all subsectors. But our concern here is with se- lected areas where the new technology is likely to have its greatest
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ELI GINSBERG 13 impact and where both total employment and the proportion of women workers are substantial. We will look more closely at two industries, banking and hospitals, each of which reveals se- rious difficulties in assessing the future impacts of technological and other forces on women's employment. The computer and computer-communications linkages, including satellites, have had a head start in banking and finance, and the new technology has also been making headway, although more slowly, in the admin- istrative and financial, and more recently, in the clinical areas of hospitals. Moreover, each industry has a large number of workers: in 1982 banking and finance employed about 2.8 million workers, of which women accounted for two-thirds, and hospitals employed 4.3 million individuals, with women accounting for three-quarters of the labor force (see Table 2~. Banking and Finance One reason that it Is difficult to sort out clearly what has been happening in banking and finance is the multiplicity of forces affecting the employment profile. In addition to computers taking over most of the number crunching from clerks, the number of locations where such work is carried out has grown. The new technology is also leading to changes in hiring standards. Most city banks prefer high school and junior college graduates because they have come to recognize that the dynamism of the new technology will require the continuing retraining of staff. The high rate of turnover of new employees, particularly women clerical workers, has enabled most banks to accommodate the changes to date without layoffs. But they have reduced new hires (Dutka, 1983~. The foregoing is only part of the story. In the last decade, while these changes were occurring in back-office work, many large city banks were opening new branches, which required more personnel, and most recently, with deregulation, they moved aggressively to introduce a wide range of new financial services, adding many new workers to fill expanding front-office jobs. To complicate matters further, the narrowed spread between the rates at which the banks have been able to borrow and to lend, particularly in the early 1980s, caused an adverse effect on their profitability and liquidity. In short, the changes from the side of technology were dwarfed by cyclical and structural alterations, which have buffeted and continue to buffet commercial
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14 POLICY PERSPECTIVES banking. But we must be careful not to rn~nim~ze the technological factors, since major structural transformations are under way that will permanently transform conventional banks into providers of financial services of which the full reach remains to be revealed. A cautionary assessment of the technological impacts on wom- en's employment in banking and financial services would have to include the following: ~ A substantial reduction has already taken place in lower- skilled clerical positions in insurance and banking as well as in the other sectors of finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE). ~ It is likely that in addition to back-office clerical positions that have already been relocated out of urban centers, additional jobs will migrate to outlying areas and even overseas locations. This trend will have a particularly adverse effect on the employ- ment prospects of urban minority women. ~ The raising of hiring requirements will close out most op- portunities for young women who do not possess at least a high school diploma and preferably a junior college degree. ~ The likelihood that many middle management positions will become redundant could have adverse effects on many women who have been able to gain a toehold on the executive ladder. ~ In contrast to the foregoing, which are "downbeat" fore- casts, allowance must be made for the extent to which the new technology will continue to stimulate and possibly accelerate the growth and development of new financial services for which there will be a substantial and sustained demand. Once this last potentiality is taken into account, there is a rea- sonable prospect that the long-term employment effects of the new computer-communications technology on women's employment in FIRE will be positive, not negative (Noyelle, 1987~. Hospitals and Health Care Let us now look at what has been happening to women's employment in hospitals and the likely changes in the future. First, hospital employment increased in the 12 years after 1970 by no less than 50 percent, from 2.8 million to 4.3 million, and in both years women accounted for about three of every four members of the work force. A little noted phenomenon in this period of expansion in employment has been the trend of most acute care institutions to raise the qualifications of their nursing staff and
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ELI GINSBERG 15 technicians by hiring and retaining those with more education and training, a preference reflecting the increasing intensity of care and the greater reliance on sophisticated technology. Many hospitals have shifted their employment patterns in the direction of more registered nurses and have reduced the numbers of practical nurses and nurses' aides. The introduction of the diagnosis-related group (DRG) sys- tem for the reimbursement of Medicare patients has acted as a major spur to hospitals to move aggressively to modernize their administrative and financial record keeping via computerization. Their survival hinges on how quickly they are able first to under- stand their admissions and then control treatment regimens and length of stay, since under DRGs they are paid a fixed price per · - ac mission. As noted earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and most other forecasters assume that health care in general, and hospitals in particular, will continue to be a major growth industry between now and 1995. But that assumption must be inspected anew. Hospital admissions have leveled oh; length of stay is dropping; the financing of hospital care is being tightened by third~party payers (government and insurance); and the DRG system is encouraging all providers to tighten their cost controls, including their use of personnel. In 1984 and again in 1985, total hospital employment, instead of expanding, experienced a small decline. With for-profit enterprises playing a larger role in the provision of health care, the future structure of the federal government's financing of Medicare still evolving, the numbers of older persons requiring more care continuing to increase, medical knowledge and techniques continuing to advance, and the shift from inpatient to ambulatory settings accelerating, it would be a serious error to use the past as guide to the future, especially if the focus is centered on hospitals, not on the totality of health care services. There is no question that the computer and other new tech- nologies have already left their marks on the hospital indirectly. The strong trend toward for-profit and nonprofit chains; the shift from inpatient to ambulatory care settings; radical changes in sur- gical procedures, particularly cardiac, ophthalmic, and urologic surgery and many other changes have occurred during the pe- riod of increased computerization, from the introduction of the computer into medical education to its use in nurses' procedures.
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16 POLICY PERSPECTIVES The combined influence and unpact of these technological and related changes (economic, organizational, managerial) on the positive employment of women hospital workers are not clearly discernible, but the following may be considered a middle-oŁthe- road assessment. . The dominant view as of mid-1986 is that hospital employ- ment has peaked and that a decline of up to 20 percent in hospital employment over the next decade and a half is possible, some would say, even probable. Clearly, such a decline would have a dif- ferentially adverse effect on women workers because they account for about 70 percent of all hospital employees and also are more heavily concentrated in the lower-skilled occupational categories that are most vulnerable to the inroads of the new technologies. On the basis of selected field investigations in New York City and in Boston, my associates and ~ have become aware of the increasing trend of late for hospitals to cut back on hiring less-educated and less-skilled persons. This means that minority women who improved their employment prospects in the 1960s and 1970s by obtaining jobs in hospitals are definitely at risk. Some are being let go; many more who would have been hired in an earlier period are not even being interviewed. It is true that at the upper end of the occupational distri- bution, women physicians and nurses with a master's or doctorate degree are well positioned both with respect to employment and advancement. On the other hand, the much bruited shortage of nurses that commanded attention only 5 years ago has evaporated with little likelihood that a shortage will reappear. Part of this striking shift within such a short time period reflects the pressure of the new resistant climate on hospital administrators anct their ability through computerization to exercise much closer control over their personnel costs, particularly their nursing personnel costs. For a more balanced overview, it should be noted that the above relates solely to hospital employment, not to total employ- ment in the health care sector. The latter Is likely to expand as physicians treat more people in their offices and as more patients, including patients who are quite ill, can now be cared for in their homes. Women workers, in particular registered nurses, practical nurses, technicians, and nurses' aides will unquestionably find that jobs are expanding in these out-of-hospital settings. On the whole,
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ELI GINSBERG 17 total health care employment is expected to continue to increase. A small percentage of women workers, those with higher-level skills, will continue to advance; many more with limited skills will have to work at less attractive jobs with little upward mobility (Ginzberg, 1985~. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Currently, more than half of all adult women are in the la- bor force and many more would probably work if suitable jobs were available. Six major factors have accelerated the growing importance of women workers in the U.S. economy during the post-World War IT decades: . The need of the economy for more labor and the availability of women willing and eager to fill such jobs. ~ The differentially rapid expansion of the service sector whose employers were often seeking part-time workers while many women preferred or were willing to take such jobs. ~ Many of the new service jobs in clerical work and sales required individuals with a general education and little in the way of specific skills. Women met these basic requirements. ~ In the long period of rapid expansion and high profits many corporate employers built up large staffs. Declining profits and the increased use of the computer have in recent years encouraged employers to operate with fewer white-collar workers. ~ The increasing participation of women in work has been paralleled by a greater percentage of women investing in higher education so as to be able to improve their career prospects. ~ Despite these major changes in the relation of women to the world of work, the earlier concentration of women workers in a relatively few occupational and industrial groupings has continued (although the concentration has been reduced). A high proportion of all women workers continues to be employed in the service sector at the lower end of the wage scale. In light of these six principal changes in the shape of women's employment, policy makers should focus on the following: Full Employment Women, like men, need employment op- portunities if they are to find jobs and enjoy career prospects. The U.S. economy has been slack since 1979 as we have attempted to
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18 POLICY PERSPECTIVES control inflation. We have redefined full employment in terms of 7 or 8 percent not 3 to 4 percent unemployment. Moreover, the federal government, the only agency capable of affecting macro- economic policy, has permitted the employment issue to drop off its agenda, although the Humphrey-Hawkins Act obligates both the Congress and the administration to address a host of job is- sues. The first and most important contribution of policy makers should be to strive to bring and keep the economy as close to full employment as possible. At a minimum they should avoid ill-advised actions such as new trade restrictions, radical reforms in the tax structure, and excessively large defense programs, which could reduce the capacity of the U.S. economy to move toward a high and sustainable level of employment. Continued; RED There is every reason for the government and the corporate sector to maintain and increase their efforts to strengthen their R&D structures. These hold the best promise for the continuing growth and profitability of the U.S. economy in an increasingly competitive world economy. Although new technology has the potential for placing people's skills, jobs, and careers at risk, the penetration of new technology usually proceeds at a rate that permits adjustments to be made through retraining, attrition, and early retirement rather than through job displacement. While a rapidly penetrating new technology can on occasion result in job losses, most workers who are displaced lose out because of the inability of their employers to remain competitive, as has been the case in steel, autos, apparel, and many branches of electronics. Strengthened Education and Retraining Policymakers should recognize that the best approach to the prevention of increasing instability in the world of work is a strengthened educational sys- tem that will enable workers to be properly educated, trained, and retrained. The economy needs expanded government and corpo- rate funding for retraining programs. The large numbers and high proportion of young minority women, particularly in large urban centers, who fail to graduate from high school, need special atten- tion and help. As we noted, the new technology is leading large employers to raise their hiring standards. Hence young women, including teenage mothers who do not have high school diplo- mas, may be permanently restricted to the peripheral labor force. We need more and better second-chance programs such as the
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ELI GINSBERG 19 Job Corps. The Job Gaining Partnership Act is not adequately responsive to the needs of the hard-to-employ. A National Jobs and Education Program The advances in computer-communications technology will, as we have seen, con- siderably reduce the demand for clerical workers and result in the relocation of many clerical jobs from large high-cost urban centers to outlying and even foreign locations. These developments will make it even more difficult for the urban high school drop-out to fashion a permanent attachment to the labor force, particularly in jobs that offer prospects of advancement. It may be desirable, even necessary, for our society to reappraise the need for a na- tional jobs program (with an educational component) that will assist poorly educated young people to acquire work experience and at the same time overcome their educational deficiencies. A national jobs program- could also serve as an important bridge for older women, particularly those who have been on and off welfare for some period (Hollister, 1984~. Continued LEO Enforcement There is no question that the crowding phenomenon referred to above has been a major fac- tor in keeping women's wages considerably below men's and in limiting the opportunities of many to advance into better-paying jobs and careers. Antidiscrimination legislation and administra- tive procedures have made some contribution to reducing wage discrimination, but the major positive force has been the expan- sion of the economy and the willingness and ability of more and more women to prepare for technical and professional careers. We should continue to use legal and administrative techniques to re- duce discrimination in the labor market, even while we recognize that major gains to improve women's earnings and career oppor- tunities depend primarily on the expansionary potential of the economy. Of equal if not greater importance is the response of the urban school systems. They currently fail to provide many low- income women with a proper educational foundation without which their entrance into and advance in the world of work will be seriously circumscribed.
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20 POLICY PERSPECTIVES Child Care No one who has reflected on women's employ- ment con overlook the importance of strengthening the social ser- vice infrastructure, particularly the expansion of child care facili- ties. Most women who work must also care for their children and run their households. Greater equity and career opportunities for women require that society recognize that women workers carry excessive burdens and seek to lighten these burdens (Economic Policy Council of UNA-USA, 1985~. A CONCLUDING NOTE The thrust of the foregoing policy recommendations has been to emphasize that the major preconditions for the continued ex- pansion and improvement of employment opportunities for women hinge on the continuing strong growth of the economy and on strengthening the educational preparation of women for adult- hood and for the world of work. A full employment policy and strengthened educational system are the two principal founda- tions for further progress. Supplementary support can come from strong antidiscrim~nation mechanisms and from expanded child care facilities. However, it Is unrealistic to expect our economy, or any devel- oped economy, to perform continuously at a high level of employ- ment. Similarly, even a well-functioning educational system will not be responsive to the needs of all young people. A significant minority is likely to reach working age inadequately prepared for the world of work. I`arge-scale shifts in markets and new tech- nological breakthroughs introduce further disturbances that will result in job losses, skill downgrading, and reduced earnings, even while they also open up new opportunities for job growth, skill improvements, and higher earnings. A responsible and responsive democracy must act to assist those who are most vulnerable to the inadequacies of our schools and the labor market. It can do so by providing second-chance opportunities for the many who need to improve their basic competences if they are to be successful in obtaining a private-sector job; for interim public employment if they are not capable of competing successfully for such jobs; and for access to training and retraining in the event that they are victimized by market or technological change. Our society confronts a paradox that it can no longer ignore. It cannot hold on to its conviction that all persons should work
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ELI GINSBERG 21 to support themselves and their dependents and at the same time ignore the reality that many lack the required competences for getting and holding jobs and that many others, competent others, cannot find jobs. If we reaffirm our commatment to the work ethic, we must see that everyone, men and women alike, who need or want to work have an opportunity to do so. REFERENCES Baumol, William J. 1967 Macroeconomics of unbalanced growth: the anatomy of urban crisis. American Economic Review 57~3~:415-426. Bureau of the Census 1983 Statistical Abstract of the United State* 1984. 106th edition. Washing- ton, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce. Dutka, Anna B. 1983 A Review and Analysis of the Citibank Office Technology Pi- lot Project Program at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. Report, Conservation of Human Resources, Columbia University, New York. January. Economic Policy Council of UNA-USA 1985 Women and Familyin the United States: A PolicyInitiative. Report of the Family Policy Panel. New York: United Nations Association of the United States of America. Ginzberg, Eli 1985 The restructuring of U.S. health care. Inquiry (Fall) 22~3~:272-281. Ginzberg, Eli, and Alice M. Yohalem 1966 Educated American Women: Self Portraits. New York: Columbia University Press. Ginzberg, Eli, Ivar E. Berg, Carol A. Brown, John L. Herma, Alice M. Yohalem, and Sherry Gorelick 1966 Life Styles of Educated Women. New York: Columbia University Press. Ginzberg, Eli, Thierry J. Noyelle, and Thomas M. Stanback, Jr. 1986 Technology and Employment: Concepts and Clarifications. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. Hollister, Robinson G., Jr., ed. 1984 The National Supported Work Demonstration. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Kutscher, Ronald 1985 Factors Influencing the Changing Employment Structure of the United States. A paper given at the Second International Confer- ence of Progetto Milano, Milan, Italy, January 25. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Labor Statistics. National Manpower Council 1957 Womanpower. New York: Columbia University Press. Noyelle, Thierry J. 1987 Beyond Indu~triol Dualism: Market and Job Segmentation in the New Economy. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
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22 POLICY PERSPECTIVES Noyelle, Thierry J., and Anna B. Dutka 1987 Business Serviced in World Markets: Lessons for Made Negotiations. New York: Ballinger. Silvestri, George T., and John M. Lukasiewicz 1985 Occupational employment projections: the 1984-95 outlook. Monthly Labor Review 108~11~:42-57. Stanback, Thomas M., Jr., Peter J. Bearse, Thierry J. Noyelle, and Robert A. Karasek 1981 Ser~nce~/The New Economy. Totowa, N.J.: Allanheld, Osmun & Co.
Representative terms from entire chapter: