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Posted: November 28th, 2020

Occupational Stratification: Impact of occupation and social class

Occupational Stratification: Impact of occupation and social class

Occupational stratification is a term that refers to the way different occupations are ranked according to their social status, income, education, and power. Occupational stratification is a form of social stratification, which is the division of society into hierarchical layers based on various criteria. Occupational stratification affects the life chances and opportunities of individuals and groups, as well as their access to resources and rewards.

## How does occupation affect social class?

Social class is a complex concept that involves multiple dimensions, such as wealth, income, education, culture, lifestyle, and prestige. Occupation is one of the main indicators of social class, as it reflects the level of skill, training, and education required for a job, as well as the income and benefits associated with it. Occupation also influences the social networks and interactions of individuals, as well as their identity and self-esteem.

According to some sociologists, there are three main classes in the United States: the upper class, the middle class, and the lower class. The upper class consists of the wealthiest and most powerful people in society, who own large amounts of property and capital, and have high levels of influence and prestige. The upper class includes people who have inherited wealth or have high-status professional occupations, such as doctors, lawyers, CEOs, or politicians. The middle class consists of people who have moderate levels of income and wealth, and have some degree of occupational autonomy and security. The middle class includes people who have white-collar jobs, such as managers, engineers, teachers, or nurses. The lower class consists of people who have low levels of income and wealth, and have little or no occupational autonomy or security. The lower class includes people who have blue-collar jobs, such as factory workers, service workers, or laborers.

However, some sociologists argue that there are more than three classes in the United States, and that there are significant variations within each class. For example, some sociologists distinguish between the upper-middle class and the lower-middle class, based on differences in income, education, occupation, and lifestyle. Some sociologists also identify a working class that is distinct from the lower class, based on differences in skill level, union membership, political orientation, and culture.

## How does social class affect occupation?

Social class is not only determined by occupation, but also influences the choice and availability of occupations for individuals and groups. Social class affects the access to education and training that are necessary for entering certain occupations. Social class also affects the access to social networks and resources that can facilitate occupational mobility and advancement. Social class also affects the expectations and aspirations that individuals have regarding their occupational careers.

Social class creates barriers and opportunities for occupational attainment and mobility. Occupational attainment refers to the process of entering an occupation for the first time. Occupational mobility refers to the process of changing occupations or moving up or down within an occupation over time. Social class affects both processes in different ways.

Occupational attainment is influenced by factors such as family background, educational achievement, cognitive ability,
personality traits, motivation, discrimination, and luck. Social class affects these factors in various ways. For example,
social class affects the quality and quantity of education that individuals receive, which in turn affects their chances of entering high-status or high-paying occupations. Social class also affects the availability of financial resources that can support educational attainment or occupational entry. Social class also affects the exposure to different occupational options and role models that can shape individuals’ preferences and aspirations.

Occupational mobility is influenced by factors such as human capital (skills and knowledge), social capital (networks
and connections), cultural capital (values and norms), institutional factors (rules and policies), structural factors (supply
and demand), discrimination (based on race, gender, age), and luck. Social class affects these factors in various ways.
For example, social class affects the accumulation of human capital that can enhance individuals’ productivity and
competitiveness in the labor market. Social class also affects the access to social capital that can provide information,
support, or opportunities for occupational advancement. Social class also affects the possession of cultural capital that can
match the expectations and requirements of certain occupations or organizations.

## Conclusion

Occupational stratification is a significant aspect of social inequality in modern societies. Occupation affects social
class by determining the level of income, wealth, power, prestige, and lifestyle that individuals enjoy. Social class
affects occupation by influencing the access to education,
training,
networks,
resources,
and opportunities that individuals have for entering or advancing in certain occupations.
Occupational stratification has important implications for individuals’ life chances,
well-being,
identity,
and participation in society.

## References

– Hierarchy – Definition & Examples | Sociology Dictionary | AlleyDog.com (2019). Retrieved from https://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.php?term=Hierarchy
– Social Class in the U.S. | Boundless Sociology (2020). Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-sociology/chapter/social-class-in-the-u-s/
– The Impacts of Social Class – Intercultural Communication (n.d.). Retrieved from https://open.library.okstate.edu/interculturalcommunication/chapter/the-impacts-of-social-class/
– Occupational Stratification | Bizfluent (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bizfluent.com/info-10052662-occupational-stratification.html

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