During its boom phase, Silicon Valley was a center of attention for many reasons, but especially for its labor market arrangements. With the dot.com burst of 2000, many will be tempted to view the institutions that surrounded Silicon Valley as yesterday's news. But they would be wrong to do so, for a high-tech labor market adjusts to the ups and downs of the business cycle. Job market mobility -- what Alan Hyde in this volume terms "high velocity" -- was and is a key characteristic of Silicon Valley's labor market. As such, an understanding of Silicon Valley employment practices provides an understanding of labor market practices in any industry where mobility is high and the employment relationship is loose. Hyde suggests that while the work practices associated with high technology are somewhat unorthodox and may present legal problems, they play essential roles in high growth. Hyde addresses such issues as whether trade secret laws ought to give employers more power against departing employees or should be liberalized to facilitate start ups. Why do Silicon Valley employers use temporary help agencies at twice the national rate? Why do they employ so many engineers and programmers on temporary visas, and what would happen if that program were cut back? Why are so few Silicon Valley employees represented by unions? Could new unions serve their needs? How do well-compensated, highly mobile employees provide for their retirement or health insurance? Answers to these and many other questions about today's newest labor markets can be found in this book. The author shows how understanding these unusual features of high-velocity labor markets requires an understanding of how labor marketsfunction like information markets and can be made to contribute to economic growth.
Barossa Living Articles
Barossa Living Books