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The immobility of the low-skilled and unemployed in the United Kingdom

Kitching, Robert James; (1990) The immobility of the low-skilled and unemployed in the United Kingdom. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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As the economy of the United Kingdom has improved in the latter half of the 1980s, the distribution of new employment opportunities remains poorly matched to the distribution of the unemployed. With the decline in regional policy in recent years, much government rhetoric has been directed towards encouraging the unemployed and others to move from one part of the country to another in response to job opportunities. Yet the unemployed and the low-skilled continue to exhibit lower rates of mobility than the population as a whole, and there is evidence of socio-economic polarisation in migration. The thesis argues that for many low-skilled, low-paid and unemployed people in the United Kingdom immobility is a rational response to their labour market situation, even when conditions might suggest otherwise. It studies the decision to migrate at the level of the household, set within the interacting spheres of opportunity, aspiration and constraint. The methods of research allow comparisons of manual and non-manual workers, and of two contrasting labour and housing areas, Liverpool and Reading. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies are combined Interview survey and group discussion techniques are combined to examine the relations between social class and immobility, and the influence of local labour and housing markets and community affiliations upon individual and household migration decisions. The survey results demonstrate that migration actions and aspirations are related to position within the local housing and labour market, to housing and employment histories and to stages in household development. The need to look at the household as a dynamic unit is shown, since its needs and those of its members will change over time. The analysis concludes by demonstrating that households balance aspirations, opportunities and constraints, creating a series of 'windows' when migration is preferred though not always a possible option. Whether or not a household will respond by migration depends upon how it balances the elements in decision, particularly those in housing, employment and attitude towards the local community. It concludes that for most low-skilled and unemployed households the most rational course of action is to stay put, despite labour market theories and government exhortations to the contrary.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The immobility of the low-skilled and unemployed in the United Kingdom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Low skilled workers
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116293
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