structure of the national labor force (Darr, 2007a). He depicted the new group in relation to other occupational groups (see Figure 3-1), arguing that this group, which combines service, technology, and software application, makes up the core of the emerging knowledge economy. The group includes software application engineers, technical support, engineering and scientific consulting, software implementers, and detailers.

Darr observed that his view of the emerging occupational structure challenges the view of labor market polarization presented earlier (see Chapter 2). He said that the service sector is often described “as producing low-skilled and low-paid jobs,” in contrast to the knowledge sector, made up of “highly skilled individuals who hold college degrees and enjoy … autonomy and a high salary.” While he did not dispute the notion that the national labor market is polarizing, he is “opposed to the assumption that polarization occurs along the traditional service-knowledge divide.”

Darr explained that he had conducted an ethnographic study of engineers engaged in selling real-time computing applications, interviewing the sales workers and also observing them at trade shows and in other settings. The research yielded two main conclusions. First, the traditional boundar-

FIGURE 3-1 Occupational typology of service and knowledge work.

SOURCE: Darr (2007b).



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement