Employability, empowerment and employers, between debunking and appreciating action. Nine cases from the ICT sector
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In 1951, C. W. Mills (58-59) wrote: "To be free and to be secure is to have an effective control over that upon which one is dependent: the job within the centralized enterprise". A key problem of our time is if and how employees can be free and secure by having an effective control over their employability. The aim for this paper is to contribute to the debate about this by focusing on the ICT sector, because it is characterized by rapid change which makes it a prototype for an employability- dependent careers pattern, and within this sector on companies whose management takes a keen interest in employability. The research question is: what are the implications of the new psychological contract based pursuit of employability by ICT companies? The paper starts with some conceptual clarification regarding employability and the new psychological contract, followed by a brief review of theoretical constraints. Then it outlines the employability-related challenges that work in the ICT field entails, and positions the nine companies studied as fairly exceptional, critical cases in terms of the interest shown in the issue of employability. In the empirical part of the paper implications and constraints are explored on the basis of 37 interviews with employees and managers in the companies.
- action problem