Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Science and Technology Studies


The number of technical workers in the workforce in all economies is increasing. In developed economies such as Australia they play a significant role in the process production. The increasing use of advanced manufacturing technologies (AMT) such as computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing (CADCAM) has the potential to significantly impact on the jobs of workers in areas such as engineering, design, draughting and production. This thesis examines the position of technical workers and some of the changes to their work that have occurred as CADCAM has been implemented and developed. The labour process, labour market and class-consciousness literature provides the framework for this research. The research set out to determine employers or employees have used advanced manufacturing technologies such as CADCAM to alter the power relationships and work of technical workers in Australian labour markets? This thesis has challenged the view that it is in the best interest employers to deskill and displace skilled labour and replace them with unskilled labour. The empirical findings in this thesis support the view that technical workers in Australia using CADCAM are engineering and trades people who have used their knowledge and skills to become CADCAM users. The data also supports the view that in the main technical workers have relatively secure jobs with good status and prestige. Technical workers have used their knowledge of the design and production processes to ensure that their jobs are located in a secure tier of the primary segment of an internal labour market. . Finally technical workers have a contradictory class position, but currently they are more closely aligned to their traditional roots in the working class than to middle class.