Skills and the social value of work

Findlay, Patricia; Gall, Gregor, ed. (2019) Skills and the social value of work. In: Handbook on the Politics of Labour, Work and Employment. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 317-338. ISBN 9781784715687

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Skills matter, and not just to the people who have them. Skills are crucial supports for work and employment and for individual economic prosperity, but are valuable far beyond this, impacting upon social mobility, health and well-being and social and civic life. Employers also have a direct interest in skills, their acquisition, formation, development and, perhaps most crucially, how skills are deployed, as is clear from numerous discussions of, and programmes in, talent management. Worker skills are valuable to capital, and employers have a strong vested interest not just in the effectiveness of how they access, develop and retain skills but also in how public policy and public investment supports national education and skills systems. Skills also serve a crucial social function, providing the basis not just for wealth creation but also underpinning success, broadly defined, for families, communities and civil society.