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Downward occupational mobility and job satisfaction: when does it hurt less?

Zhou, Y., Zou, M. ORCID: and Williams, M. (2024) Downward occupational mobility and job satisfaction: when does it hurt less? European Sociological Review. ISSN 1468-2672

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcae002


Downward occupational mobility is a generally under-explored subject in careers research. This study examines how job satisfaction evolves before, during and after a downward career transition and how the pattern is moderated by individual and contextual factors. Drawing on the UK Household Longitudinal Study which followed respondents from 40,000 households over the last decade, our fixed effects analysis shows that downward occupational mobility has negative effect on job satisfaction that lasts for several years following the transition. However, the detrimental effect of downward occupational mobility on job satisfaction is mitigated when the event is preceded by a spell of unemployment or when individuals reside in regions with high level of unemployment. These results likely reflect individuals’ tendency to evaluate their careers in the context of their employment history as well as their peers’ labour market experience. This study highlights the relativity of subjective well-being function, as self- and social comparisons feature prominently in how people judge their lives.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:114648
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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