The Borders of Inter-Firm Mobility for ICT Employees in Italy

The Borders of Inter-Firm Mobility for ICT Employees in Italy

Francesca Sgobbi (DIMI, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy, & Centro de Estudos sobre a Mudança Socioeconómica e o Território, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/jhcitp.2013010104
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Abstract

Workers with low skill transferability risk longer unemployment spells between jobs and face higher probability of poorer working conditions. Those risks are particularly strong for professionals in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), due to fast changing technologies and processes. The empirical analysis provided in this paper tests the borders of skill transferability for ICT employees by assessing the return to employer mobility for firm changers in the same industry and firm changers moving outside the ICT industry compared to firm stayers. The 1990-2004 empirical analysis is based on WHIP, a longitudinal dataset including a representative sample of employment relationships in Italy. The results show that firm changers benefit from a wage premium, provided that they remain in the ICT industry.
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2. Skill Transferability And Ict Professionals

Several studies point out the crucial role played by human resources in the development of an information society and the harms potentially associated with skill shortage and skill gap1 among ICT professionals both in the ICT industry and in other economy sectors (Forth & Mason, 2004; Wintjes & Dunnewijk, 2008; Didero et al., 2009; Colomo-Palacios et al., 2012). The risk of mismatch between demand and supply of ICT skills is deeply connected with the intertwined key events that have marked the history of information and communication technologies since the 1980s (OECD, 2005; Solimene, 2008; Didero et al., 2009). First, by unifying elaboration tools and transport and delivery channels of different types of information (voice, data, images), digitalisation processes drove the merge between telecommunications, computer industry and production of digital contents. Second, the switch of traditional ICT manufacturers from capital-intensive good production to knowledge-intensive service delivery has been driving progressive processes of outsourcing and offshoring, at least in industrialised countries (OECD, 2005; Didero et al., 2009; García-Crespo et al., 2010; OECD, 2011). Third, the pervasiveness of ICT made basic ICT-skills a requirement to perform a large range of working and non-working tasks in the daily life of most citizens and opened new positions for ICT professionals in virtually all economic activities (European Commission, 2012).

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