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Who Trains? High-tech Industries or High-tech Workplaces?


  • Chowhan, James


The growth in micro-technologies and their widespread diffusion across economic sectors have given rise to what is often described as a New Economy - an economy in which competitive prospects are closely aligned with the firm's innovation and technology practices, and its use of skilled workers. Training is one strategy that many firms undertake in order to improve the quality of their workforce. This study contributes to the expanding body of research in the area of information and communication technologies (ICT). Using data on business sector workplaces from the 1999 Workplace and Employee Survey (WES), we investigate factors related to the incidence and intensity of training. The study focuses on whether training incidence and training intensity are more closely associated with the technological competencies of specific workplaces than with membership in ICT and science-based industry environments. The study finds that training incidence depends more on the technological competencies exhibited by individual workplaces. Among workplaces that decide to train, these technological competencies are also important determinants of the intensity of training. Workplaces which score highly on our index of technological competency are over three times more likely to train than those that rank zero on the competency index. The size of the workplace is also a factor. Large and medium-sized workplaces are 3 and 2.3 times more likely to train than small workplaces, respectively. And workplaces with higher-skilled workforces are more likely to train than workplaces with lower-skilled workforces. For workplaces that choose to train, their technological competency is the main determinant of training intensity. The size of the workplace, the average cost of training, and the skill level of the workforce are also influential factors'but to a lesser extent. Other factors, such as sector, outside sources of funding, and unionization status, are not influential factors in determining the intensity of training. Workplaces that have a higher average cost of training train fewer employees as a proportion of their workforce. However, the skill level of their employees moderates this effect, because as payroll-per-employee increases (a proxy for worker skills), plants train more.

Suggested Citation

  • Chowhan, James, 2005. "Who Trains? High-tech Industries or High-tech Workplaces?," The Canadian Economy in Transition 2005006e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis Division.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp1e:2005006e

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
    2. Dunne, Timothy & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1995. "Wages, Employment Structure and Employer Size-Wage Premia: Their Relationship to Advanced-Technology Usage at US Manufacturing Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 89-107, February.
    3. Baldwin, John R. & Gellatly, Guy, 1998. "Are There High-tech Industries or Only High-tech Firms? Evidence from New Technology-based Firms," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998120e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne & Kenneth R. Troske, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-290.
    5. Frenette, Marc & Picot, Garnett & Sceviour, Roger, 2004. "When do they leave? The dynamics of living in low-income neighbourhoods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 484-504, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 2005. "What Explains the Canada-US ICT Investment Intensity Gap?," CSLS Research Reports 2005-06, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    2. Richard Dion & Robert Fay, 2008. "Understanding Productivity: A Review of Recent Technical Research," Discussion Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.


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