With labour markets across the world and even in social democratic Europe in a state of unprecedented flux, this exhaustive study addresses the problem of how to balance job market demands, personal career interests and private life becomes a central issue for millions of employees. So how do modern work and employment arrangements restructure individual careers and what is required of individuals in order to manage career transitions successfully over time? This is one of very few in-depth empirical studies to analyze how labour market trends, organisational change and the subjective work orientations of individuals interact. The author's detailed assessment is based on a comparison of the structural contexts, work orientations and employment histories of nurses and ICT technicians in Germany and the UK. These two core service occupations, as well as the national contexts of the two European nations, have quite different working environments and vocational traditions. Nursing is an institutionalized semi-profession with clear criteria of qualification and career continuity, while information and communication technology (ICT) is a new, evolving field with varied skill backgrounds and high job mobility. To arrive at an understanding of how individual career trajectories are changing, this book closely examines the interplay of labour market demands, employees' work and career orientations and the development of their skills. It records the ways in which employees adapt to increased labour market flexibility, which, on the one hand, induces discontinuities of careers, employment and work, and on the other, generates new skill requirements and learning expectations, as well as unforeseen opportunities.
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