Work Intensification and Employment Insecurity in Professional Work
Professional work is a category of employment that has traditionally been associated with high levels of worker autonomy, economic and social status. During the past decade, changes in customer expectations, government policy and technology have generated pressures resulting in enhancement of the quality and efficiency of service provision, expansion in task requirements and a need for higher levels of discretion. In this sense, professional work has been upgraded. However, the changes have also led to a deterioration in the economic and social status of professional work, adversely impacting on the social and psychological well-being of professional workers. This paper examines these developments in five professions including two established professions (lawyers and pharmacists), one aspiring profession (midwives) and two emerging professions (counselling psychologists and human resource managers). The empirical findings are based on a survey of 1270 professional workers conducted in 2000 and 2001.
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