Économie et Statistique n° 363-364-365 - 2003 Firms on The Global Markets Labour Market - Attractiveness - Debt - Enlargement toward East en South
The internationalisation of industrial firms and employment: an analysis of the 1986-1992 period
Imports and exports are not without their effects on growth in the level and structure of a firm's employment. This link between «internationalisation» and employment is analysed for manufacturing industry firms for the period from 1986 to 1992. The firms that constantly internationalised during this period lost more or created fewer jobs than those that did not. The internal changes to constantly internationalised firms do the most to reduce manual employee employment in total industrial employment and unskilled employment in manual employee employment. However, the companies constantly doing business on the international markets were also the largest firms. Basically, the influence of size is tending to become confused with the propensity to penetrate international markets. The analysis of the link between employment and the internationalisation of firms with a given size and activity sector shows that importing is definitely and specifically associated with the destruction of jobs over the period, unlike exporting. The importing of «finished goods», a manifestation of the phenomena of shifting all or part of the local production offshore, is the factor the most associated with the firm's drop in employment and, within this employment, production employment and especially unskilled employment. However, an empirical analysis of the link between exporting and employment structure provides no clear-cut interpretation insofar as it cannot disregard horizontal direct investment about which there are still few data available. Lastly, taking the firms' innovation into consideration does little to change these conclusions.