Change of employment: polarization trends in the German labor market?

Client: Bertelsmann Foundation; Gütersloh

Project partners: -

Duration: 01.08.2014 - 15.02.2015

IZA experts have carried out an empirical analysis on the possible polarization of the German labor market for the Bertelsmann Foundation. The study examines the employment trend, the volume of work, the wages and the use of atypical forms of employment by occupation in Germany since the mid-1990s. While a growing wage disparity between better and the worse-paid occupational groups can be observed, there is no evidence for a pronounced employment polarization in terms of people employed or working hours between the occupational groups. Following the results of the study the hypothesis of a labor market polarization driven by technological change and globalization can hardly be substantiated for Germany. Instead, both a cross-temporal comparison and a comparison to other European countries reveals a fairly robust middle-income group in the German labor market. However, part of the service sector shows a strikingly widespread use of atypical forms of employment forms, most of which are low-wage jobs.

Werner Eichhorst

Dr. Werner Eichhorst

Coordinator of Labor Market and Social Policy in Europe