Why Do Some Employees Fall into and Fail to Exit a Job-Lock Situation?

A. Huysse-Gaytandjieva*, W. Groot, M. Pavlova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previous studies have paid little attention to the employees’ ability to exit a job-lock situation and factors that determine this ability. It remains unclear why some employees who experience job lock are able to exit this state while others remain in job lock. We use longitudinal data to identify employees who have fallen in the state of job lock and their subsequent behavior—exiting or remaining in job lock. By use of a first-order Markov transition models, we analyze the relevance of sociodemographic features, employment, occupational, sectoral, and contextual factors, as well as personality characteristics in explaining the transition or its absence. Overall the results show that both demographic factors and work-related aspects increase the likelihood that an employee enters the long-term job lock state (especially for older, married, full-time employed, those in a craft occupation and governmental sector, and in a region with high unemployment). Mental health problems and personality characteristics (low peak-end self-esteem and decisional procrastination) have a significant effect on the probability to stay in long-term job lock. On the contrary, having a managerial, service, or associate occupation, working in the private sector, and having promotion opportunities increase the chance of an exit from the state of job lock.
Original languageEnglish
Article number839349
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental and Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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