Teleworking and Globalisation

Inexpensive telecommunications, the spread of computing, and globalization are creating major change in the location of work within and between countries. Because no tools have yet been developed to investigate the new spatial employment patterns, a cluster analysis involving more than 50 variables and 206 countries was performed to group countries and identify their position in the emerging global division of labor in information-processing work. The analysis identified qualitative and quantitative changes occurring in the organization of distribution of work. Special attention was paid to the following: call centers (centers in remote locations at which functionally specialized workers with a telecommunications link to customers are concentrated); off-shore data processing; and development of the export software industry in countries such as India, the Philippines, Russia, and Bulgaria. Data about the numbers and characteristics of home-based teleworkers in the United Kingdom that were drawn from the UK Labour Force Survey were also used in the analysis. The following factors associated with high and low rates of teleworking were discussed: cost and availability of information and telecommunications technology; differing sectoral and occupational structures; urbanization; household size and structure; and national regulatory context. (Nineteen tables are included. The report contains 104 references.) (MN)