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Depoliticizing the Firm: Revisiting Employability as a Strategy and a Narrative for High-Skilled and Skilled Workers in an Eastern European City



Our main aim is to unpack the notion of employability as a narrative and as a strategy by contextualising it in an Eastern European setting and by scrutinizing how it is defined and experienced by two different categories of employees: high-skilled and skilled workers. We look at the case of Cluj, a mid-size Romanian town fast developing into an IT hub and a centre of reindustrialization. Drawing on qualitative interviews with employees in the IT and HR sectors, and in medium-sized factories, we argue that personal development and gaining expertise are a successful employability strategy for the highskilled, but make the skilled workers more vulnerable and at risk of becoming redundant. We argue that the employability discourse draws new lines of divisions between employees. By shifting the lens away from the organization and towards the individual worker’s responsibility, the employability discourse depoliticizes the relationship between the employee and the employer.