Career and partnership trajectories: How are they connected for women and men?

About the project

This research project aimed to exploit three British birth cohort studies (NSHD, 1946; NCDS, 1958; BCS, 1970) in order to examine the links between individuals’ occupational careers and the formation and dissolution of their partnerships.

Leading researcher:

This was an ESRC Mid-Career Fellowship project of Erzsébet Bukodi.

Research questions include:

  1. Do early work-life trajectories affect the chances that individuals marry or cohabit, or, if cohabiting, the probability that they convert their relationships into marriage?
  2. After controlling for early work-life trajectories, does the course of married people’s subsequent occupational careers affect their risk of divorce?
  3. Are people living in marriage more likely than cohabiting or unmarried people to experience career advancement – i.e. upward occupational mobility?
  4. Does divorce have adverse effects on individuals’ occupational careers, and if so, do these effects tend to be short-term or long-term and do they differ between men and women?
  5. Are the relationships between work and partnership trajectories changing in their nature over time and are they influenced by changes in the economic climate?

The birth cohort studies have followed the same individuals through their lives, and show their work and partnership histories unfolding in relation to a wide range of their background and early-life characteristics and experiences (e.g. their social origins, cognitive abilities in childhood, education, personality features, and parental marital histories). The research will use different kinds of statistical methods developed for dealing with events that unfold over time and for the modelling of career and partnership decisions, such as conventional event-history analyses and simultaneous hazards models.


Bukodi, E. (2012) The relationship between work history and partnership formation in cohorts of British men born in 1958 and 1970. Population Studies, 66 (2), pp. 123-145.

Bukodi, E. Serial cohabitation in Britain: the role of work careers (forthcoming in the European Journal of Population).

Bukodi, E. Is there a spill-over effect? Evidence on the relationship between occupational history and marriage dissolution from a British birth cohort study (manuscript).