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Lesson Note

Subject: Economics

Topic: Mobility Of Labour.

Learning Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:

  1. Explain mobility of labour and its types;
  2. Identify and explain the factors affecting the mobility of labour.


Mobility of Labour

Mobility of labour may be defined as the ease with which labour can move from one geographical area to another, or from one occupation to another. Labour is said to be mobile when workers will find it easy to move from one geographical area to another or to change jobs.

Types of Mobility of Labour

There are two major types of mobility of labour. These are geographical mobility of labour and occupational mobility of labour. They are discussed below:

(a) Geographical mobility of labour: Geographical mobility of labour refers to the ease with which workers or labour can move from one geographical location to another in pursuing the same occupation or changing occupations.
When a worker moves from one town to another, e.g from Port Harcourt to Jos, without changing the job he is doing, we say that he has moved geographically. An accountant in Port Harcourt may move to Jos to continue to work as an accountant. Take note that it is the movement of labour or worker from one area ( e.g Port Harcourt) to another area (e.g Jos), that is called geographical mobility of labour.

Factors Affecting Geographical Mobility Of Labour

i. Cost of transportation: A worker may be able to move from one location to another if the cost of transportation is low. But when it is high, movement becomes difficult.
ii. Accommodation problems: Workers may not be able to move to New location where there’s accommodation problems.
iii. Climatic conditions: Members may move from where climatic conditions are unfavourable to areas where there are favourable climatic conditions.
iv. Family and cultural ties: Members of a family or culture may find it difficult to move from one location to another because of strong family or cultural ties.
v. Government policies: Certain government policies, e.g. the establishment of National Youth Service Corps ( N.Y.S.C), help to deliberately move labour to different state other than their states of origin.
vi. Discrimination: Labour may not be able to move if there is the possibility of discrimination against them in their destination.
vii. Language barrier: When labour finds it difficult to speak the language of a particular area, it becomes very difficult for them to move to such area.
(b) Occupational mobility of labour: Occupational mobility of labour refers to the ease with which a worker or labour moves from one occupation or job to another. When a musician becomes a footballer, he has changed his occupation.

Factors Affecting Or Obstacles To Occupational Mobility Of Labour

i. Cost and length of training: Some professions are costly to train in terms of time and money, e.g the medical profession.
ii. Ability or aptitude: Some jobs require natural ability or talents and those that are not gifted cannot fit into such jobs, e.g musicians.
iii. Employment prospect/age: After a certain age ( e.g 45 years) employers will not engage such people. They have poor prospects for an employer as they only have short working like.
iv. Trade union / professional association restriction: Some professional bodies ( e.g accounting law) require certain qualifications before admission.
v. Personal reasons: Personal preference for a particular job amd dislike for available alternatives may discourage movements.
vi. Family and friendly ties: Friendly ties at times make it difficult for some people to change jobs. Also, some families are known to be associated with certain profession, and it will become difficult for a family member to pull out of that profession.
v. Wage rate: Labour will move if there is a wide margin in salaries but if it is low, labour may not move.
vi. Political instability/religion: When there is political unrest or religious crisis, it will be very difficult for labour to move.
vii. Condition of service: Apart from salary, the conditions of service in a working place e.g bonuses, overtime, staff bus, car and housing loan, etc when present, will encourage labour not to move.

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Take a quick test for this lesson!

  1. What is mobility of labour?
  2. State and explain the types of mobility of labour.
  3. Explain the factors affecting geographical mobility of labour.
  4. List and explain the factors affecting occupational mobility of labour.

Questions answered correctly? Kudos!!

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