Survey of Job Tasks, Technology, and Workforce Participation

Awarded Scholars:
Michael Handel, University of Wisconsin
Project Date:
Mar 2003
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work


Skill requirements for jobs are growing and changing significantly. Many analysts believe this is due to advances in computer technology and organizational changes that increase employee involvement in workplace decision-making. To provide better tests of these hypotheses, we need to learn more about what tasks people actually perform at work, and what kind and level of skill these job tasks require.


Michael Handel has created a pilot survey to assess what skill requirements workers face on their jobs, the technology they use, the kinds of decision-making and team tasks they perform. He will study their relationship to other relevant job characteristics, such as wages and working conditions. He will gather the respondents' perspective on the level and relevance of skills such as communicating with others, writing, using mathematics to solve problems, using computer programs, solving complex problems, and performing equipment maintenance. With this award from the Foundation, Mandel will implement his survey on a random sample of 200 wage and salary workers, with help from the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts. The survey will track skills across jobs, over time, and by level.


Handel received funding from the National Science Foundation to expand this pilot project into a full-scale survey of 2,500 respondents.


Reports and Publications



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