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‘McJobs’, ‘good jobs’ and skills: job-seekers' attitudes to low-skilled service work

Lindsay, Colin (2005) ‘McJobs’, ‘good jobs’ and skills: job-seekers' attitudes to low-skilled service work. Human Resource Management Journal, 15 (2). pp. 50-65. ISSN 0954-5395

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Abstract

This article focuses on unemployed job-seekers' attitudes towards entry-level jobs in three areas of the service sector – retail, hospitality and call-centre work. The article examines whether job-seekers are reluctant to pursue these opportunities, and provides an analysis of the motives of those ruling out service work. A range of potential barriers is discussed, including the extent to which job-seekers perceive the service economy as offering only so-called 'McJobs' – low-skilled, low-paid jobs with few opportunities for development. However, the article also focuses on perceived skills mismatches, with some job-seekers arguably over-qualified for entry-level service jobs, while others consider themselves to lack the necessary 'soft' skills. The analysis is based on interviews with 220 unemployed people in Glasgow. The article concludes that policy action may be required to encourage job seekers to consider a broader range of vacancies and to provide tailored training in partnership with service employers. On the demand side, service employers must address the need for entry-level positions that offer realistic salaries, decent work conditions and opportunities for progression and development.