Dimensions of occupational mobility in the Republic of Ireland

Michael Hout, John A. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present data on occupational mobility in the Republic of Ireland in greater detail than has been available previously. The primary datum is a 14×14 mobility table. The categories are subclassifications of the nine categories used in analyses of other European societies by Erikson, Goldthorpe, and others. The refined categories show details of mobility in Ireland that are important for understanding the complete structure of association between class origins and destinations. Gross rates of mobility in Ireland are lower than the rates observed in countries for which comparable data are available. Furthermore, the mobility that occurs is very often mobility between categories that differ little in market position or socioeconomic status. We find that the relative low mobility rate in Ireland is due to the combined effects of an occupational composition that favours immobility and a pattern of strong association between class origins and destinations. 'Countermobility,' i.e., instances of downward mobility to first jobs (often in unpaid work on a farm or in a shop) followed by upward career mobility that returns the worker to his class of origin is also an important component of Irish occupational mobility. The association between origins and destinations has a very strong vertical component which we measure using prestige and educational credentials. Market position affects immobility as informal labour markets increase immobility while bureaucratic recruitment decreases it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-137
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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