Journal Article

Falling off the Ladder? Professional and Managerial Career Trajectories and Unemployment Experiences

Yaojun Li

in European Sociological Review

Volume 18, issue 3, pages 253-270
Published in print September 2002 | ISSN: 0266-7215
Published online September 2002 | e-ISSN: 1468-2672 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/esr/18.3.253
Falling off the Ladder? Professional and Managerial Career Trajectories and Unemployment Experiences

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Two highly in influential theories are in debate over the class character of professional and managerial employees in their work‐life mobility. The ‘employment relationship theory’ holds that these employees have a service employment relationship with their employers, which will guarantee their career stability as a distinctive service class with no major internal divisions. Challenging this is the ‘assets theory’ arguing that underlying professional and managerial careers are two fundamentally different assets. Cultural assets facilitate the formation of a cohesive and secure professional middle class, whereas organizational assets will result in an insecure and marginalized managerial middle class. Exponents of the theories have conducted empirical research to support their arguments but, owing to the limitation of data and methods used, no direct dialogue is available. This paper seeks to bring about such a dialogue by using more appropriate data and methods to test the theories simultaneously and rigorously. The analysis focuses on professional and managerial career flows derived from complete work histories and on the vulnerability to unemployment across two decades (1973–92). The results show that, overall, the challenge to the employment relationship theory is not substantiated.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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