Different Types of Labor Markets and Jobs

Type of Firm

Type of Labor-Power Market

Control System


Large Firms with some market power, ability to plan ahead.

Independent Primary:

Professional & Technical Salaried/Staff & Control/Line employees.

 "White collar" (new) middle class jobs.

Bureaucratic Control

Mental Labor; workers treated as assets. Workers given "responsible autonomy." Job ladders, some job security, a lot of benefits, and promotion from within. Rule by law, as opposed to arbitrary decisions by supervisors.

Subordinate Primary:

Production workers, often unionized by an industrial union (or competing with a union).

"Blue collar middle class jobs"


Technical Control.

Direct control, often based on machine-pacing.

Largely manual labor, Deskilling stressed, though not as much as for secondary workers. Often paid a wage premium to motivate work or (more likely) because of union. The union contract represents a form of bureaucratic control.


Small, competitive firms with little ability to plan ahead.


Craft, Highly Skilled, usually unionized by a craft union.

 More "blue collar middle class jobs"


Craft Control,

Management shares control of work process with workers. Mental & manual labor combined.


High Turnover, Low Skills. Little job security or chance for advancement. Dead-end jobs.

"The working poor."


Simple Control,

Direct control. some technical control; manual labor, heavily deskilled. Workers treated like interchangeable parts.

 By James Devine, Loyola Marymount University

September 10, 1999

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