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How Career Mobility Affects Individuals

 

One of the major reasons people give for quitting their jobs is career advancement; it is either they want to step up at the level of their career or they want to become their own bosses, either way, it all points to career advancement.


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Job mobility, otherwise known as “career mobility”, is the movement of employees across positions or grades. In general, it is an upward movement in which employees advance in various levels of their careers. However, it can also be a lateral move to a similar role in a different team or department.

Career mobility doesn’t just involve a move across positions in an organization, sometimes it involves a complete change in an occupation where an employee has to quit his present job for a better job opportunity.

Technically, mobility can happen in two ways, either the upward way or the downward way. In other words, career mobility means promotions and career advancement, or a change in a job role that benefits the employee’s career growth, it can also mean a downward movement across positions in an organization.

Career mobility is often referred to as intra-generational social mobility because it involves changes in an individual’s position in the labour market over the adult life course. This change is examined with respect to both the type of work involved and the rewards derived from work. The process of job change does not automatically involve a change of occupation or industry, but a change of occupation or industry always involves a job change, because the process of job change provides a more detailed account of career mobility.

Whether career mobility is initiated by the employer because the responsibilities, skills, or characteristics of a certain number of workers are no longer needed or by employees because they are dissatisfied with some aspect of their jobs or organizations, connecting with new employment can be troubling. This is because this career or job mobility requires change and change demands flexibility and cooperation because every job position or career involves a certain level of compromise, thus, employees must be willing to adapt quickly to everything involved in that job position.


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Career or job mobility may be either voluntary or involuntary and may occur at a decreasing rate with time in the labour market. They are also more likely to occur within a firm than between firms as labour market skills increases.

Voluntary career shifts are associated with increases in status and wages while involuntary job shifts are associated, most times, with losses. Career shifts within firms and occupations are more often associated with gains in status and wages than those between firms and occupations because most times the reason people leave their jobs for another has to do with lesser wages paid in the present job as opposed to wages they deserve.

In general, the rewards of changing jobs decline with labour market experience and job tenure. Wages, as well as the opportunity for wage growth and promotion, bear a negative relationship to the probability of a job shift.

The rate of mobility varies with the characteristics of the individual, the job, the occupation, the employing organization, and the economic environment.

Many employers have come to recognize that succeeding in the workplace and retaining top talent and skills of certain employees means they must help employees to grow and broaden their skills. Formal learning and tuition reimbursement rewards are no longer enough to retain these skilled employees. Organizations must expose their employees to new jobs and roles within the company that would stretch them and still make them utilize their skills to their maximum if they want to keep them.

There is also evidence that early career experiences have a significant effect on later career outcomes. This evidence indicates that those entering different career lines, who receive different rewards at career entry, can expect different career outcomes.

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