The increased flexibilization process and deregulation of the labour market from both high and low income countries have, over the years, presented new challenges, especially with the intensification of the market competition in search for decreased production costs. The liberalization of the trade schemes plays a key role in reinforcing the competitive pressures of the global markets. As a result, such developments result in profound changes in technological, production, innovation, employment conditions, and the structures of firms (Alvesson 2001, p. 863).
By 1980s, the economic restructuring was enhanced through the decentralization of the production. The institutional changes at the micro level ranged from outsourcing and downsizing to changes in the skill requirement, transformations and work organizations towards the workforce composition. The liberalization of trade has also played a key role in changing the requirements in skills and employment due to the dynamics and the relative wages (Scarborough 1999, p. 8). This shifts the labour intensive production processes to the low-wage countries. These transformations impact differently to both men and women, and the variation is dependent on several factors. The feminization of the labour force continues at both domestic and international levels. This has led to increased participation of women labour force as well as deterioration of the working conditions in jobs previously dominated by males (Balakrishnan & Huang 2000, p. 43-7).
Changes in employment have profoundly affected the productive processes and have transformed modes and functions for most firms. This has, in turn, affected the labour relations and employment conditions. The structures in labour markets have been reorganized and destabilized. The changing production landscape at micro-level has increased job opportunities as well as generation of new employment positions.