A paper from the “Work and Life Quality in New and Growing Jobs” (walqing) project of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission Research Area by Sem Vanderkerckhove and Monique Ramioul (HIVA-K.U.Leuven)
Introduction (first paragraph)
The overall objective of the WALQING project is to map employment growth and to measure the quality of the new jobs in an EU comparative perspective.
A major challenge is to take account of the reality that job creation (and destruction) as exhibited in macro-economic statistics hides substantial employment shifts beneath the surface of the national picture. And even sector employment figures do not do justice to the structural changes in the job compositions within the firms of which these sectors are composed.
Economic change and the re-organisation of work today can only be understood fully when one takes into account a simultaneous decomposition and recomposition of sectors, organisations and labour processes. Hence, we need a method to investigate structural employment change not only between sectors and nations, but also within sectors. To do so in international comparative analysis makes the endeavour all the more complex.
Over time, national bureaux for statistics or research institutes have been converging and data gathering has been internationalised (Huws, 2006). The possibilities for advanced research, such as analyses of time series and comparative studies, are vast. At the same time, the more data becomes available, the more questions and complications arise.
We now face a situation where one of the largest surveys in the world, the European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), is stretched to its limits. Over time, cracks appear in the data, with politically inspired changes, methodological interventions and new countries joining the European Union.
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