Skill Specificity and Labour Mobility: Occupational and Sectoral Dimensions

Robert Elliott, J Lindley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of workers to change job, sector or occupation and the costs associated with a reallocation of labour are the subject of lively debate among academics. This paper examines occupational and sectoral dimensions of labour mobility in the UK between 1985 and 2000 using data from the Labour Force Survey. By addressing Neal's (Journal of Labour Economics, Vol. 13 (1995), pp. 653-677) conclusion that 'future research . . . must confront the task of defining job categories that directly capture important skill specificities', we attempt to shed some light on the complex relationship between the labour market, the generality and specificity of skills and the ability of individuals to move between and within sectors as well as within and between occupations. Occupational skill specificity and previous sector of employment are shown to affect mobility jointly and individually. Absolute skill differentials also affect mobility with the less skilled exhibiting a greater propensity to change sector and occupation simultaneously.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-413
Number of pages25
JournalManchester School
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


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