Title

THE EFFECT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES, WORKPLACE RE-ORGANIZATION AND TRADE ON THE DEMAND FOR EMPLOYEES¢ SKILLS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF GREEK AND SWISS ENTERPRISES

Abstract

This paper aims at investigating empirically at the firm level the effect of the use of modern information and

communication technologies (ICT), and also of two other factors, the adoption of new forms of workplace

organization (which is regarded as a ‘complement’ of ICT), and trade (export) activities (a major characteristic

of modern economy), on the demand for employees’ (vocational) education and skills. The study is based on

firm-level data collected through a common questionnaire from firms’ samples of similar composition

(concerning firm sizes and industries) in Greece and Switzerland; from these data econometric models of similar

specification have been constructed for both countries. The results of multivariate analysis show that the

intensive use of ICT correlates positively with the employment shares of high-educated personnel and negatively

with the ones of the low-educated personnel. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis of ‘skill-biased

technical change’. Further, the intensive use of “employee voice”-oriented organizational practices correlates

positively with the employment shares of high-educated employees in both countries, and also negatively with

the employment share of low-educated ones only for the Swiss firms. The results for the “work design”

organizational practices are more ambiguous. Thus, there is only partial confirmation of the hypothesis of

skilled-biased organizational change. Finally, we found some evidence in favour of the trade effect (export

activities) only for the Swiss firms. Our results show both similarities and differences in the above aspects

between Greece and Switzerland, and indicate that national context characteristics affect the relationship of the

demand for employees’ (vocational) education and skills with ICT use, adoption of new forms of workplace

organization and trade.

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