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September 1989, Vol. 112, No. 9
Occupational change: pursuing a different kind of work
James P. Markey and William Parks II
An important decision facing young jobseekers is the choice of an occupation. The initial selection, though, is by no means etched in stone, as most individuals are likely to change occupations at some point in their worklife. An occupational change can take place for a variety of reasons-a teenager changing summer jobs, an employee receiving a promotion, a worker choosing to make a career change, or an individual forced to change occupations after losing a job. The most recent measure of such changes, from a January 1987 survey, found that nearly 10 million persons were in different occupations than a year earlier. The majority had changed voluntarily, citing better pay, advancement opportunity, or working conditions as their reason for switching. Some 1.3 million workers, however, were in different occupations because they had lost their previous jobs.
This article explores the characteristics of those workers who make voluntary and involuntary occupational changes, and examines the pattern of their movement between occupations. The data were obtained through a supplement to the January 1987 Current Population Survey (CPS), which asked questions on occupational mobility, occupational tenure, and time with current employer.1
This excerpt is from an article published in the September 1989 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 The Current Population Survey is a monthly survey of approximately 56,000 households conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Bureau of the Census. Information on occupational mobility had been collected in the January supplement periodically since 1966.
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