Are the Early Leavers the Lucky Ones?

Pekka Virtanen, Arja Jolkkonen, Pertti Koistinen, Arja Kurvinen, Liudmila Lipiäinen, Tapio Nummi

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According to previous studies, major workforce downsizings are commonly preceded by increased employee turnover due to ‘early leavers’. There is a common belief that early leavers are winners in terms of re-employment. This seven-year follow-up study based on register data from Finland questions if this is a valid finding in the Nordic context. We set the hypothesis that early leavers are not undisputed winners compared with those who leave during the actual downsizing. Trajectory and sequence analyses were used to test the hypothesis. Six employment trajectories were identified, ranging from permanently strong to permanently weak labor market attachment. Supporting the hypothesis, the early leavers assumed more commonly the weak and less commonly the strong employment trajectory. However, within the weak employment group, the early leavers and ultimately displaced workers were equal in terms of unemployment and retiring, as well as within the strong employment group in terms of income level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-43
JournalNordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Issue number1
Early online date27 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Early leavers / employment trajectories / job mobility / plant closing / segmentation / sequence analysis / trajectory analysis / workforce downsizin

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  • Publication forum level 1


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