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Movers and Stayers: Social Mobility, Migration and Skills

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Izabela Grabowska

The author examines social mobility in the enlarged EU by analysing the work sequences of 1865 movers and stayers in Poland. Using indicators of upward and downward social mobility, she explores the role of migration in careers. Her research shows that migration adds dynamism to work paths and contributes to the improvement of people’s working lives. It also suggests that agency and reflexivity guide the acquisition of tacit skills during migration, resulting in various patterns of social mobility.
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Chapter 3. Spatial mobility and social mobility of migrants and stayers in Poland

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This chapter discusses three types of mobility. Firstly, spatial mobility which relates here to international geographical movements, predominately within the European Union (EU). Secondly, social mobility which includes moves between socio-occupational categories. Thirdly, labour market mobility which relates here to transitions between labour market statuses: employment, unemployment and inactivity. The chapter includes an overview of international research on social and spatial mobility with special focus on sending, sedentary populations. Migrants or movers are understood here as individuals who at least once in their work lives experienced moves abroad connected to taking up employment in a foreign country. Sedentary persons, immobile or stayers are understood here as individuals who spend their whole working life in the domestic labour market. The methods of analysis used here cover both classical analysis of social mobility as well as analysis of transitions between labour market statuses. The analysis of social mobility is applied to both migrant and sedentary persons as comparators and uses classical indicators: upwardly mobile, downwardly mobile and stable. Upward mobility means here that individuals moved hierarchically between socio-occupational categories, from a lower to a higher one. Downward mobility means that individuals have moved hierarchically between socio-occupational categories, from a higher to a lower one. Stable means here that individuals have not changed their socio-occupational category during their whole work life, including after or between migration. The classical analysis of social mobility is supplemented here by an analysis of transitions between labour market statuses before, after or between migration experience, connected...

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