Journals Higher Education
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Published: 30 September 2004

288 Pages | 7 figures

ISBN: 9780199269549

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Bookseller Code (06)

The Mismanagement of Talent

Employability and Jobs in the Knowledge Economy

Phillip Brown and Anthony Hesketh
with Sara Williams

This book lifts the veneer of 'employability', to expose serious problems in the way that future workers are trying to manage their employability in the competition for tough-entry jobs in the knowledge economy; in how companies understand their human resource strategies and endeavor to recruit the managers and leaders of the future; and in the government failure to come to terms with the realities of the knowledge-based economy. The demand for high-skilled, high waged jobs, has been exaggerated. But it is something that governments want to believe because it distracts attention from thorny political issues around equality, opportunity, and redistribution. If it is assumed that there are plenty of good jobs for people with the appropriate credentials then the issue of who gets the best jobs loses its political sting. But if good jobs are in limited supply, how the competition for a livelihood is organized assumes paramount importance. This issue, is not lost on the middle classes, given that they depend on academic achievement to maintain, if not advance the occupational and social status of family members. The reality is that increasing congestion in the market for knowledge workers has led to growing middle class anxieties about how their off-spring are going to meet the rising threshold of employability that now has to be achieved to stand any realistic chance of finding interesting and rewarding employment. The result is a bare-knuckle struggle for access to elite schools, colleges, universities and jobs. This book examines whether employability policies are flawed because they ignore the realities of 'positional' conflict in the competition for a livelihood, especially as the rise of mass higher education has arguably done little to increase the employability of students for tough-entry jobs. It will be of interest to anyone looking to understand the way knowledge-based firms recruit and how this is influenced by government policy, be they Researchers, Academics and Students of Business and Management, Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management, Politics or Sociology; Human Resource Management or Recruitment Professionals; or job candidates.

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