Career Mobility: A Choice or Necessity?

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Career Mobility: A Choice or Necessity? What is triggering the industrial, occupational, and geographical mobility of today's workers? Some believe it is a response to downsizing and restructuring. Others believe it reflects a pursuit for job advancement and a better quality of life. This Digest examines the factors triggering workers' career mobility and suggests ways workers can use career mobility to capitalize on the dynamics of a changing workplace. Factors Contributing to Career Mobility Job mobility in the U.S. work force has become the standard employment pattern in today's workplace. Between 1991 and 1996, the median job tenure for men 25-64 years of age fell by an average of approximately 19 percent, with older workers most affected: males 55-64 years of age had a 29 percent drop in tenure and males 45-54 years of age, a 25 percent drop (Koretz 1997). Although the job tenure of females remained somewhat constant during this period, this may reflect the increased numbers of women who have entered the work force during these same years rather than stable job tenure patterns. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 percent of the work force switches jobs every year (Henkoff 1996). The following are some of the factors contributing to the career mobility of today's workers. Search for Competitive Employment Positions Organizational downsizing, outsourcing, and restructuring have eliminated many positions of midlevel management (Appelbaum and Santiago 1997). The typical mid-management workers in transition are 45-58 years old with over 20 years of job tenure (Unger 1995). Many older workers nearing retirement age are also in transition as organizations increasingly offer them incentives to leave the... ... middle of paper ... ...t 1996): 24-25. Griffin, D. "What I Do for Love." Working Woman 20, no. 12 (December 1995): 39-41. Henkoff, R. "So You Want to Change Your Job." Fortune 133, no. 1 (January 15, 1996): 52-56 Kaye, B. "Up Is Not the Only Way." Training and Development 50, no. 2 (February 1996): 48-53. Koretz, G. "Economic Trends: Dangers for Job Changers." Business Week no. 3450, November 13, 1995, p. 38. Koretz, G. "Job Mobility, American-Style." Economic Trends Section. Business Week no. 3511, January 27, 1997, p. 20. Stroh, L.; Bret, J.; and Reilly, A. "Family Structure, Glass Ceiling, and Traditional Explanations for the Differential Rate of Turnover of Female and Male Managers." Journal of Vocational Behavior 49, no. 1 (August 1996): 99-118. (EJ 527 061) Unger, P. "Culture Shock: Tips for Transitioners." Management Review 84, no. 6 (June 1995): 44-48.
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