, Doctor habilitatum in Economics, Professor, Strada Mitropolit Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni 61, Chișinău 2005, Молдова
, University Lecturer, Strada Mitropolit Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni 61, Chișinău 2005, Молдова

In heading

Economic theory;

Signed print


Issues number

2020 - № 4 (43)



Type of articles

Scientific article

Code UDK

331.2 (478)

ISSN print



Problem conceptualisation. Over the last decades, the polarization of work, in general, and jobs, in particular, has been the research subject for many researchers in different countries. Analysing the specialized literature, we can find that there are several criteria that can be taken into account in the polarization of work, and namely: technological changes focused on specific professional skills, increasing education, trade deregulation, increasing the service sector, employer preferences, state policies in the field, organizational changes, salary level and salary inequalities, etc. Taking into account the wide range of criteria that can be taken into account when polarizing work and jobs, in this paper we will discuss the issue of wages and wage inequalities. Job polarization spontaneously leads to wage inequality, as the share of the highest paid jobs and lowest wages is increasing. In addition, the polarization of the workforce can also influence the wage level in occupations, by regaining new professional skills. In this respect, there may be three possible outcomes. First, there is a demand-driven situation. The change in labour demand for certain occupations also determines the change of jobs. Assuming a constant supply, the growing demand for high and low wage occupations leads to an increase in higher and lower wages, while the demand and, consequently, the wages for medium-skilled occupations is declining (Autor, Katz, & Kearney, 2008). The relationship between job polarization and wage inequality turns to be positive then. Second, occupational changes can be determined by supply. The modernization of occupations may lag behind the expansion of higher education, thus pushing the highly skilled workforce into lower jobs, creating an excessive supply of skills associated with eroded wages (Autor, Katz, & Kearney, 2008); (Beaudry, & Green, 2003). This leads to the creation of an excessive supply for lower paid occupations,
leading to salary cuts for those occupations. Meanwhile, the talented workforce stays in medium-skill level occupations, which leads to an increase in average salaries. In this case, the relationship between the polarization of occupations and wage inequality is negative. Third, technological changes can lead to increased requirements for professional skills within occupations, while educational expansion and the growing demand for higher education skills are witnessing a period of balanced growth. This leads to increased productivity for all occupations and, ultimately, to higher wages. The direct relationship is unclear then and both salaries and employment depend on the development of professional skills in occupations rather than on their changes.


work, job, professional skills, qualification level, salaries, wage inequality


External reviewer

Article in PDF



Aberg, R. (2003). Unemployment persistency, over-education and the employment chances of the less educated. European Sociological Review, 19 (2), 199–216. Retrieved from e3f5ad29bdba1b4c16d39.
Acemoglu, D., & Autor, D. (2011). Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings. In O. Aschenfelter, R. Layard, & D. Card (Eds.), Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier. Retrieved from
Autor, D. H., Katz, L. F., & Kearney, M. S. (2008). Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 90 (2), 300–323. Retrieved from
Beaudry, P. & Green, D. A. (2003). Wages and Employment in the United States and Germany: What Explains the Di_erences? American Economic Review, 93 (3), 573–602. Retrieved from
Belser, P., & Vazquez-Alvarez, R. (2017). Raportul privind salariile la nivel mondial pentru 2016/2017: Diferenţele salariale la locul de muncă. Biroului Internaţional al Muncii. Geneva: BIM. Retrieved from jsp?langId=e n&catId=89&furtherNews=yes&newsId=9485.
Dustman, C., Ludsteck, J., & Schonberg, U. (2009). Revisiting the German Wage Structure. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124 (2), 843–881. Retrieved from https:// htm.
Goos, M., Manning, A., & Salomons, A. (2009). Job polarization in Europe. Am. Econ. Rev. 99 (2), 58–63. DOI: 99.2.58. Retrieved from https:// 12033.
Mishel, L., Schmitt, J., & Shierholz, H. (2013). Assessing the job polarisation explanation of growing wage inequality. Economic Policy Institute, Working Paper, 11. Retrieved from
Song, J., Price, D. J., Guvenen, F., Bloom, N., & von Wachter, T. (2015, May). Firming up inequality. NBER Working Paper 21199. Cambridge, MA, National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from htm.
Weil, D. (2014). The fissured workplace: Why work became bad for so many and what can be done to improve it. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Retrieved from‑wusa. 12149. pdf.
Visser, J., Hayter, S., & Gammarano, R. (2015, September 29). Trends in collective bargaining coverage: Stability, erosion or decline? Labour Relations and Collective Bargaining, Issue Brief No. 1. (Geneva, ILO). Retrieved from wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---travail/documents/publication/wcms_409422. pdf.

Code DOI