Publication Date



Upjohn Institute working paper ; 18-292

**Published Version**

In Economic Development Quarterly 33(2): 76-91




The occupational structure of an establishment provides a description of its production process by detailing the distribution and relative intensity of tasks performed. In this paper, I investigate whether there are substantive differences in the occupational structures of low- and high-wage service sector establishments. I show that low-wage establishments organize production to use less labor in professional occupations compared to high-wage establishments operating in the same local-labor market and industry. In addition, low-wage establishments employ fewer individuals in information technology occupations, employ fewer managers, and have substantially wider supervisory spans of control. These results indicate that, despite operating in the same narrowly defined labor and product markets, low-wage establishments organize production to less intensively use labor in skilled occupations.

Issue Date

August 2018

Subject Areas

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; Job skills and standards


Get in touch with the expert

Want to arrange to discuss this work with the author(s)? Contact our .



Forsythe, Eliza C. 2018. "The Occupational Structures of Low- and High-Wage Service Sector Establishments." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 18-292. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.