Shuffling across the Career Ladders: Intergenerational Inequalities in Occupational Mobility

Heta Pöyliö , European University Institute & University of Turku
Juho Härkönen, European University Institute

Stratification and population literature has long focused on the inequalities in one’s occupational ‘destination’, from the aspects of career mobility or intergenerational inequalities. This paper combines these approaches and aims to shed light to the varying paths of early intragenerational occupational mobility and how family background inequalities occur within and across these pathways. Particularly, we test whether individuals from higher classes are more prone to experience upward career mobility because they aim to reach the occupational status of their parents, whereas persons from lower classes do not have this pressure. With Finnish register data on the 1974-86 birth cohorts that enter the labour market 2004-2006, we analyse their occupational mobility during the first 10 years of their early careers. ISEI provides a standardised measure for occupational status, and parental education reflects the family background. Later, parental labour market attainment will be included in the analysis. Preliminary regression results demonstrate that both upward and downward intragenerational mobility occur across family backgrounds and gender. Intragenerational mobility is found to diminish family background differences in later occupational attainment. Individuals from advantaged backgrounds had overall more mobile early careers, but they were particularly more likely to experience upward mobility after the early career. Further event history analyses will examine the volatility of intragenerational mobility and its association with family background. By combining intra- and intergenerational aspects of occupational mobility, the results provide information on how career mobility can alleviate intergenerational transmissions and which stages of the life course are vital in promoting greater equality.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 112. Intergenerational Linkages across the Life Course