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Workplace opportunities and stresses are both increasing
Date:12/13/2007

ative forms of employee engagement such as meetings with management and consultation with individuals over work changes.

By 2000, about one in three employees was taking part in individual bargaining over pay. This is more likely to occur in workplaces where there are no unions and, note the researchers, it is leading to increasing inequality. Managers and professionals are more likely than other employees to strike personal pay bargains. Women are less likely than men to bargain over pay when they are recruited. They are also less likely to be represented by a union, so the ability of women to challenge the gender gap in pay is limited on both sides.

The research concludes that class differences in job rewards have increased since the early 1990s. Earnings inequality, for instance, increased during the 1992-2000 period. This reflected large real increases in the average earnings of higher managers and lower but still substantial gains for other managers, while the earnings of those in semi-routine and routine occupations remained static or declined.

The research examined a wide range of fringe benefits including occupational pensions, sickness pay and paid holidays. There was a marked class gradient in favour of higher managerial and professional groups across all these. Moreover, the gap was tending to increase rather than decrease over time. Job desirability reflecting not only pay but also non-financial factors that are valued by employees, such as flexible hours and autonomy in planning tasks also differed greatly by class.

It is likely, conclude the researchers, that inequality in pay and benefits will continue to grow because of other developments identified by the research. Managerial and professional staff are more able to benefit from the expanding opportunities for personal bargaining over pay increases. They are also the group most involved in pay-for-performance deals which bring opportunities for substantial bon
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Contact: Alexandra Saxon
alexandra.saxon@esrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-032
Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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