University of Twente Student Theses


A new divide? Investigating the effect of hybrid teleworking on socio-spatial job accessibility inequalities among groups in the Dutch workforce

Lent, S.J. van (2023) A new divide? Investigating the effect of hybrid teleworking on socio-spatial job accessibility inequalities among groups in the Dutch workforce.

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Abstract:In the context of society’s growing digitalisation, the widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in everyday life, and the increased ability to engage in activities without physical movement, job accessibility modelling requires the consideration of an additional dimension: digital connectivity to work opportunities. Recent shifts in society, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have accelerated ICTs usage due to the adoption of hybrid teleworking. However, not all individuals have equal access to hybrid teleworking opportunities due to personal and work-related constraints. The emergence of hybrid teleworking is therefore concomitant with social consequences and has the potential to amplify disparities in job accessibility. This highlights the uncertainties around the distributive pattern of job accessibility in hybrid space. The aim of this research is therefore threefold. Firstly, this research aims to complement academic literature with the introduction of a novel agent-based and disaggregated job accessibility modelling framework that integrates occupational and educational job matching, cross-modal competition effects and hybrid teleworking. Secondly, this research aims to demonstrate its practical use by application of the model on the national scale in the Netherlands. Thirdly, this study aims to assess the effects of hybrid teleworking on socio-spatial job accessibility inequalities among groups in the Dutch workforce from an egalitarian perspective. The main research question driving this research is: “How can a job accessibility measure that incorporates hybrid teleworking be constructed, and how does hybrid teleworking influence job accessibility inequalities among groups within the Dutch work force?” A gravity-based physical accessibility measure is refined to create a Hansen- and Shen-based weighted hybrid job accessibility model. This model incorporates decay functions for commutes by car, public transport, and bike, that exhibit varying sensitivities to commuting times according to the number of days (0 to 4) teleworking during a full-time workweek. Results of the Hansen-based model indicate a rise in job accessibility levels by car (30%), public transport (14614%), bike (41%) and in general (40%) where hybrid teleworking primarily enhances job accessibility in economic vibrant areas as the Randstad, emphasizing an increase in spatial disparities. However, accounting for competition effects, Shen-based job accessibility increases for public transport (16366%) but decreases for commutes by car (-5%), bike (-8,5%) and all modes combined (-12%). The influx of interregional cross-modal demand for hybrid job opportunities leads to intensified competition in the urbanized zones, counterworks the accessibility increases found in the Hansen-based model and uniformly distributes the accessibility decreases throughout the entire country. As result, spatial inequalities are neither increasing nor decreasing. In the social analysis, similar trend of the Hansen-and Shen based models are found, albeit the precise impact varies per occupational class. A multiple linear regression analysis shows that high-educated males in teleworkable occupations, like education and healthcare, experience greatest inherent accessibility benefits in the Hansen-based model. However, it is within these specific occupational classes that the Shen-based model reveals the most significant increases in job competition; the initially advantaged hybrid teleworker faces largest decreases in job accessibility when competing individuals are included in the model. Application of the Gini-index shows that hybrid teleworking leads to greater social inequalities without competition (physical: Gi=0.44, hybrid: Gi=0.45), whereas the disproportional increase in job competition effects equalizes job accessibility scores among the population, thereby reducing social inequalities by 8,8% (physical: Gi=0.34, hybrid: Gi=0.31). Lastly, a comparative analysis using a conventional aggregate measure shows both quantitative and qualitative shifts in the detection of social inequalities. It is evident that the digitalisation within the employment landscape reshapes the inequalities within the Dutch workforce. This study therefore improves the understanding of hybrid teleworking on job accessibility inequalities, while also issuing the importance of using disaggregated data and further consideration of digital access to opportunities in the appraisal of accessibility.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Goudappel, Deventer, Netherlands
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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