University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
A broad range of literature investigates career patterns and career instabilities via the transition from education to labour market or the transition to retirement of the aged population. The main results suggest negative effects of unemployment at the beginning of a career but few studies show if instabilities at the entry of labour market are indeed permanent or wear off during the working life. Furthermore, little research exists on career instability over the whole life course. This study focuses on life course and career trajectories of the population 50 + in Europe. In the first step I use retrospective sequence data of the third wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) to identify different profiles of career instabilities of the cohorts 1930-1950. I define instable careers as those deviating from a full-time employment career by recurring phases of unemployment or inactivity; thus phases outside the labour market. In a second step I connect these profiles with well-being in old age and test if instabilities in the life course are balanced out by welfare regimes in old age. This study contributes to the existing research on career patterns in two ways. First, in contrast to many studies on career patterns, I use data on the complete career of a person, from age 12 to age 70. This way I can capture the dynamics of a career and do not focus on one transition. Second, I contribute to the fairly limited research on covariates of career patterns. The results suggest that instabilities at the exit of the labour market, especially phases of unemployment, are negatively associated with well-being in retirement. However, I find a north-south gradient in Europe.