Skill matching and mismatching: labour market trajectories of redundant manufacturing workers

While re-employment opportunities for redundant workers have been a much-debated topic in economic geography, the characteristics of these new employments and the medium-run effect of major lay-offs constitute a less explored field. The present paper investigates skill matching between the pre-redundancy job and the employment workers have five years after redundancy by studying the distance and direction of their labour market trajectories. By following 670 manufacturing workers made redundant in major layoffs in 2003, the present paper connects patterns of career mobility and underemployment to possible frictions connected to spatial and industrial mobility. The results indicate that moving some distance from the initial point of departure is correlated with upward mobility. This especially concerns moving to a related industry in the same region or moving to a new region, but within the same industry. Moving too great a distance, however, increases the risk of downward mobility. Moving to unrelated industries in general, but also to related industries in new regions, is associated with a higher risk of facing underemployment in the medium run. In conclusion, the longer-run labour market trajectories, in relation to both distance and direction, need to be addressed if we are to assess the outcome of redundancies.