Downward social mobility in midlife

Young people always like to think that as they get older, their circumstances will become easier – that they will be consolidated in their careers, in a stable family situation, and, of course, secure financially.

But midlife is full of risks for many people and more so than ever with the rapidly changing labour market. The careers we started out in may have become redundant, new credentials might apply, the type of jobs we thought we would be in until retirement have been replaced by contract and casual employment arrangements. And once we lose one of these jobs over the age of 40, we find no route back.

In my latest article in the Conversation, I explore how women who as younger adults might have been considered ‘middle class’, have lost this class status by the time they reach midlife – around the age of 45. For most this was the result of losing a ‘good’ job, usually their own ‘good’ job but sometimes it was their male partner, the household breadwinner, who had lost the job.

The article will be posted as soon as published on the Conversation website.

Post script 7 March – article published today in the Conversation for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2014.

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