These trends are likely to continue, although the pace of change will be gradual and evolutionary.
The cumulative effects of changes in the occupational structure should change the images of work that have been carried over from the days when industrial work was dominant. Yet old images, and the institutions and policies they fostered, may still too often dominate analysis and actions that affect work. Distinctions between blue-collar and managerial work and exempt and nonexempt employees continue to influence the characterizations of occupations and the policies and practices that govern work. These images and categories are no longer as useful as they once were for describing what workers actually do. Many rest on the cultural dichotomy between mental and manual work and on the notion that those who do the former rarely do the latter and vice versa. Although the distinction may have always been easier to make in theory than in practice, studies of work indicate that the distinction is less viable than ever. For instance, technicians' work is almost always marked by a fusion of sensorimotor skills and extensive knowledge of body of a scientific or technical knowledge. The diffusion of advanced information and control technologies and quality control techniques into factories has brought a significant amount of analytic and symbolic work onto the factory floor. As professionals and managers join the ranks of contingent employees, many shift from being paid salaries to being paid by the hour. Rethinking outmoded images and categories and their implications for how work is structured is critical to creating a more accurate and useful map for job designers, personnel managers, career counselors, and employers.
The demographic characteristics of the labor force continue to evolve and change. The dominant effect of these trends is to increase the diversity of the labor force, particularly with respect to age, education, race, sex, and marital status. For our purposes, the key feature of this increased diversity is that much of it is occurring within occupational groups and therefore may have significant implications for occupational analysis systems. Occupations are more likely than in the past to have a mix of workers of