Abstract

Hollywood E. Mining, migration and immobility: towards an understanding of the relationship between migration and occupation. International Journal of Population Geography 2002; 8: 297-314.

The large-scale decline of the UK mining industry in recent years has led to significant job losses, unemployment and inactivity throughout the coalfields. This paper aims to examine the role of migration as a response to these closures during the previous 30 years. In neo-classical theory, migration is traditionally seen as an equilibrating force in areas of labour market imbalance. However, this paper argues that migration is more closely associated with occupation than imbalances in the demand and supply of labour, with professional workers displaying far higher rates of migration than manual workers. Where migration is often seen as an integral part of many professional careers, by contrast it has little to do with the nature of manual occupations. Consequently, it is argued that the labour market problems faced by manual workers, such as miners are unlikely to be alleviated by labour migration.
In order to illustrate these arguments, the paper uses data from the Sample of Anonymised Records and the Longitudinal Study. The migration rates of miners are compared with other occupational groups; migration rates over time are considered; and transitions in employment are examined.