Mobility of labour is the ease with which labour can move from one occupation to another or from one geographical area to another.
TYPES OF LABOUR MOBILITY
1) Industrial Labour Mobility: This is the movement of labour from one industry to another or within the same industry. Industrial labour mobility is of two types, vertical and horizontal mobility.
– Vertical mobility of labour is the promotion within the same industry or place of work. For example, a departmental manager promoted to general manager.
– Horizontal mobility is when labour moves from one industry to another but still performs the same task and occupies the same rank. E.g. an auditor from Pepsi who moves to Julius Berger Construction Company as an auditor.
2) Occupational Labour Mobility: Occupational mobility of labour is the movement of labour from one job to another. This is rampant for an unskilled labour, for example, a bus driver can switch job and become an office cleaner. Unlike a skilled labour e.g. an engineer cannot easily switch job and become a lawyer.
3) Geographical Labour Mobility: This is the movement of labour from one geographical location to another. For instance, a labour can move from Lagos to Abuja or from United Kingdom to the United State of America, from India to Kenya.
IMPORTANCE OF LABOUR MOBILITY
i) Mobility of labour reduces labour unemployment, an idle worker can move to places where his service is needed.
ii) It also increases productivity, when workers move from one place to another, they add to productivity in their new job.
iii) Labour mobility helps in technological transfer; a highly skilled worker who moves to a new job will apply his skills in the new job and impact it on other workers in the new place of work.
FACTORS AFFECTING MOBILITY OF LABOUR
1) Economic Factors: The availability of good transportation and communication systems affect mobility of labour. A good and cheap transportation system will aid mobility of labour otherwise; it will hinder mobility of labour. Same for communication, a good means of communication will make available information about the availability of jobs.
2) Government Policy on Immigration: This mostly affects movement between countries. A favourable government policy will encourage mobility while a stringent policy will make labour immobile. Also, immigration requirements also affect the mobility of labour. Government can encourage mobility of labour to distressed area by paying higher wages.
3) Sociological Factors: Sociological factors like family and cultural ties influence movement of labour. A labour who has family may find it difficult to move from one location to another. Language barrier is another factor which affects mobility of labour.
4) Length and Cost of Training: Mobility of labour is limited when it takes a longer period and cost some fortune to change job. An accountant needs not less than 5 – 7 years of higher education to be a trained surgeon or lawyer.
5) Climate Factor: A severe weather will make labour migrate to another location where the weather is favorable, for instance, farmers will be discouraged to farm in a terrain that suffers from severe and recurrent flooding. Also, labour will be immobile if the present whether is favourable.
6) Trade Unions Regulation: Trade union regulations sometimes discourage the movement of labour between jobs, if the laid down regulations are stringent. Labour mobility will be encouraged if the trade union rules are encouraging.
7) Retirement Benefits: There will be labour immobility if labour needs to have spent certain period in the present job in order to receive pension and gratuity.