Stability, change, and factors affecting ranking of occupations

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Studies concerning the ranking of occupations according to social status have shown high correlations (Counts, 1925; Deeg & Paterson, 1947; Hakel, Hollmann, and Dunnette, 1968). The most recent of these studies; however, was done about twenty years ago. This study attempted to answer two major questions. First, have the events of the past twenty years affected the social status of occupations? Second, what factors relate to the social ranking of occupations? One hundred students enrolled in introductory psychology courses at the University of Houston participated in the study for extra credit. Each participant received one of four different instructions for ranking a list of twenty-five occupations: according to income, power to make decision, qualification requirement, or social status of the occupation. Approximately twenty-five students filled out each ranking form. The correlations between the mean ranks for occupations in this study and those done previously were 0.89, 0.94, and 0.92. This result suggests that occupational ranks have remained stable over the past six decades despite changes brought about by increased automation, competition, and specialization. There were also high correlations among the mean ranks of all four different surveys, ranging from 0.86 to 0.97. The high correlations among the four different surveys suggest that a combination of these variables accounts for the social ranking of occupations.

Occupations--Social aspects, Occupational prestige