Économie et Statistique n° 369-370 - 2003 Public Employment - Careers Professional - Mobility
Career paths: a cohort analysis
The development of career paths from one cohort to the next can be looked at from two different angles: the effect of the cohort itself and the effect of the average age at a given point for all the cohorts. This breakdown is applied to private sector workers. The 1954 to 1964 generations secured their first job at a later age and took longer to become fully integrated into the world of work. This more gradual professional integration took the form of shorter and more dispersed periods of employment from cohort to cohort. Nevertheless, the probability of integration did not dwindle over the generations. These trends were more marked for women than for men. However, from 30 to 50 years old, women had increasingly full careers from one generation to the next. The contribution of these generations to increased female participation in employment varied considerably: the cohorts born in the 1920s and 1950s, for example, contributed more to the increase in female employment. In all the cohorts, experience remained a major asset in terms of securing management positions. However, access to management status was more open in some cohorts due to a better economic climate. Moreover, promotion based on qualifications partially replaced seniority-based promotion, which was predominant in the generations prior to 1950. The female cohorts remained at a disadvantage in this area compared with the men. Trade, personal services and business services are more appealing sectors at the start of a career, especially for the men. The breakdown of cohorts by sector is highly dispersed and consistently reflects the economic situation at each generation's career start. The effect of the cohort on this breakdown is much stronger for the women than for the men, since they are less mobile between sectors.