Job Stability among Young Women

A Comparison of Traditional and Nontraditional Occupations

by Linda Waite, Sue E. Berryman

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This Note, which originally appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, v. 92, no. 3, Nov. 1986, explores young women's retention in sex-atypical jobs in the military and in civilian firms. It develops hypotheses about the effects on one-year turnover of sex composition of the occupation in the national labor force. These hypotheses were drawn from several theoretical perspectives on career mobility and the effects of out-group membership on acceptance. Tests of these hypotheses, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Labor Market Behavior, provide no evidence that being in a nontraditional occupation increases the chances that a young woman will leave her current employer. The military sector shows a more complex relationship between occupational typicality and women's exit from the services.

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