Is Bridge Job Activity Overstated?

Is Bridge Job Activity Overstated? Abstract Considerable prior research has shown that most older Americans with career employment transition to bridge jobs before exiting the labor force. One criticism of this research is that bridge job activity may be overstated because the definition of a bridge job in the existing literature does not require a change in occupation. For some, the “bridge job” may just be another in a series of job changes, and not a prelude to retirement. This article investigates the extent to which bridge jobs involve a change in occupation or a switch to part-time status, both of which may signal the start of a retirement transition, as opposed to continued career employment, albeit with a different employer. We utilize the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative longitudinal dataset of older Americans that began in 1992. Among HRS respondents who were on a full-time career job at the time of the first interview and who changed jobs in subsequent waves, 48% of the men and 39% of the women also changed their (two-digit) occupation at the time of their first transition. Further, when hours worked is also considered, about 3 quarters of men and women experienced a change in occupation and/or a switch from full-time to part-time status. We conclude that most career workers who changed jobs later in life did in fact do so as part of a retirement transition. Ignoring these subtleties does result in an overestimate of bridge job activity, but only a modest one. Is bridge job activity overstated? One well-documented finding from the retirement literature is that the majority of older Americans with career employment change jobs at least once before leaving the labor force (Alcover, Topa, Parry, Fraccaroli, & Depolo, 2014). These jobs that follow full-time career (FTC) employment and precede complete labor force withdrawal are generally known as bridge jobs, as they bridge the gap between work and retirement. The prevalence of bridge employment depends on the definition of career employment and retirement, and the definition of bridge employment itself, all three of which can have objective and subjective components depending on the research context. The depth and breadth of interdisciplinary research, in particular, has resulted in examinations of labor force withdrawal patterns in the contexts of psychology (e.g., cognitive and emotional well-being), sociology (e.g., manager–employee relationships), and economics (e.g., financial incentives to retirement; Alcover et al., 2014; Beehr & Bennett, 2015; Coile, 2015). Naturally, these different contexts necessitate different measures of work, retirement, and bridge employment. In this article, we focus on patterns of labor force withdrawal per se to ascertain whether job transitions following career employment truly are bridges to retirement or, contrarily, whether they are merely another job change, perhaps among many, throughout an individual’s work history. To the extent that the latter is predominantly the case among older workers, the prevalence of bridge job activity, and gradual retirement generally, may be overstated. Older workers’ subjective assessments, and the mere reality that older workers have different skill sets and experiences, can certainly be used as a basis for justifying why job changes later in life are unique. From an objective standpoint, however, the evidence for this uniqueness is limited. We fill this gap in the literature by using purely objective measures of work and retirement to explore the extent to which bridge jobs are indeed part of individuals’ retirement transitions. We define a FTC job as one that consists of 1,600 or more hours per year and 10 or more years of tenure and retirement as complete labor force withdrawal. Using this definition, several studies have shown that between one half and 60% of older career workers in America utilize a bridge job on the way out of the labor force, and that a sizeable minority, some 15%, reenter the labor force after an initial exit (Cahill, Giandrea, & Quinn, 2006, 2011, 2015a; Quinn, 1999, 2010). To determine whether bridge jobs are retirement transitions using objective criteria, we investigate the extent to which older workers who change jobs move into a different line of work or meaningfully scale back the intensity of their work, both of which would suggest a potential shift in one’s work trajectory (toward retirement) as opposed to a continuation of career employment. We start our investigation by estimating the degree to which individuals change occupations—measured at the two-digit and three-digit Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) level—or switch from full-time to part-time employment—defined as less than 1,600 hr/year—at the time of the bridge job transition. Individuals who leave career jobs later in life and change occupations, especially at the two-digit level, or who switch to part-time work are unlikely to be continuing career employment. Even if they move to part-time work on the same job (a relatively uncommon occurrence), the transition may well be the early stages of a retirement transition. Next, we note that the types of occupational changes that people make are also important. We analyze whether occupational changes—and, therefore, retirement transitions via bridge jobs—are equally common across the many classifications of workers, or if they are more likely to be observed in certain subsets, such as white-collar or blue-collar workers. Finally, those who leave career employment for full-time jobs in the same (two-digit) occupation are examined to see if they more resemble individuals who remain working in career employment until retirement or other individuals who changed jobs. If they resemble the latter group an argument could be made that even these transitions, or a sizable number of them, are likely to be associated with retirement transitions rather than extensions of career employment. The analysis is based on a set of respondents from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative dataset of 12,652 older Americans aged 51–61 in 1992, and their spouses. The HRS is a longitudinal survey with follow-up interviews conducted every other year from 1992 to 2014. Each interview, or “wave,” is a rich source of information on, among other things, respondents’ current demographic characteristics and economic standing, including work status, pension and health insurance status, wages, and wealth. For the purposes of this analysis, we concentrate on a subset of HRS respondents who were on a FTC job at the time of the first interview. The next section briefly summarizes the literature on bridge jobs, with an emphasis on bridge job prevalence. The “Design and Methods” section describes the dataset used for this study, the HRS, and the methodology. The "Results" section presents the research findings and the "Discussion" section summarizes what we have learned. LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL DEVELOPMENT The bridge job literature extends back to the late 1960s and 1970s. Quinn, Burkhauser, and Meyers (1990) summarized the retirement literature from the 1970s and 1980s and concluded that retirement is not a one-time, permanent event for many older Americans. Rather, for many, retirement should be viewed as a transition: from career employment to one or more bridge jobs and then to permanent withdrawal from the labor force (and sometimes back to work again). In a pioneering article, Ruhm (1990, 1991) examined data from the Retirement History Survey (the RHS, the predecessor to the HRS), a longitudinal dataset of older American men and unmarried women aged 58–63 in 1969 who were then interviewed every 2 years through 1979. Ruhm found that the majority of older career workers in the RHS changed jobs or exited and reentered the labor force following career employment, where “career” was defined as the longest spell of employment with a single firm (Ruhm, 1990). Gustman and Steinmeier (1984) also found that the prevalence of partial retirement was substantial, with between one-in five and one-in three older men found to have partially retired from the main job they held at age 55. Over the past several decades the bridge job literature has evolved considerably both within and across disciplines, and within the United States and internationally, to address a plethora of outcomes related to retirement (Alcover, 2014; Beehr & Bennett, 2015; Cahill, Giandrea, & Quinn, 2015b; Hershey & Henkens, 2014; Shultz & Wang, 2011; Wang, Adams, Beehr, & Shultz, 2009; Wang, Penn, Bertone, & Stefanova, 2014). The fields of sociology and psychology have addressed individuals’ perceptions about their work environment (e.g., attitudes and relationships) and own well-being (e.g., psychological health and cognition) and the field of economics has addressed the financial outlook for social programs and the financial well-being of older Americans generally (Beehr & Bennett, 2015; Cahill, Giandrea, & Quinn, 2017). For example, Wang (2007) and Zhang, Wang, Liu, and Shultz (2009) found that workers’ psychological and physical well-being was more likely to be maintained through the retirement process if workers transitioned to bridge jobs before complete retirement, and Kim and Feldman (2000) found that bridge employment was associated with higher levels of retirement satisfaction and life satisfaction. Han and Moen (1999) examined actual and expected work–life trajectories and found that their timing depended on historical context, biographical pacing, and social heterogeneity. Quinn and Cahill (2016) examined the role that continued work later in life plays in improving the financial security of older Americans. The different outcomes of interest across disciplines has required different measures of key concepts, such as what does it mean to be retired and what does it mean to have a bridge job. In the sociology and psychology literatures, bridge employment has been broadly defined as the process that takes place between an individual’s cognitive decision to retire and the actual act of retirement, as any work for which monetary compensation is exchanged after retirement, or as any type of work taken by older adults that follows the retirement process but that occurs before complete withdrawal from the workforce (Beehr & Bennett, 2015; Kalokerinos, Hippel, & Henry, 2015; Wang, Zhan, Liu, & Shultz, 2008; Zhan, 2016). Wang and Shultz (2010), for example, examine the capacity in which the retiree works, with respect to variation in hours, responsibilities taken, and familiarity with tasks. Dropkin, Moline, Kim, and Gold (2016) address the topic of “blended work” and Zhan (2016) relates the blended work concept to bridge employment, where blended work is viewed as both part of the retirement adjustment process and a job design characteristic. Of note, researchers such as Earl and Taylor (2017) have recently questioned the usefulness of viewing retirement transitions from the perspective of bridge employment, as they argue this perspective fails to capture many of the issues associated with work and retirement more generally. The economics literature, like the sociology and psychology literatures, also includes studies that take subjective assessments into account, such as whether someone who is working considers themselves to be retired, in conjunction with objective factors (Coile, 2015; Maestas, 2010). In their book on bridge employment, Alcover and colleagues (2014) note that a common definition of bridge employment is “… [a] job that follows career or full-time employment and precede[s] complete labor-force withdrawal or retirement from work,” with a distinction made between career-consistent bridge employment and noncareer bridge employment (Alcover et al. 2014, p. 7). Career-consistent bridge employment occurs when an older worker reduces hours and/or responsibilities with their current employer. Noncareer bridge employment refers to the situation in which an individual leaves a career and enters another field, often with a lower wage or fewer benefits than they had previously. The general takeaway is that researchers in different disciplines have defined bridge employment differently. In this study, we define bridge employment as a job that follows career employment and precedes retirement, defined as complete labor force withdrawal. This definition is consistent with the noncareer bridge employment definition identified by Alcover and colleagues (2014) and matches the definition used by Quinn (1999) and Cahill and colleagues (2006, 2015a). This objective approach to define bridge job employment is well suited for the examination of bridge job prevalence presented in this study. Using the 10-year, 1,600 hr/year definition of a FTC job and the experiences of just those who had left career jobs by 1996, Quinn (1999) predicted that, at a minimum, between one third and one half of older career workers would move to a bridge job before complete labor force withdrawal. Cahill and colleagues (2006) extended the analysis with 10 years of HRS data, through 2002. With six more years of data and many more observable transitions from FTC employment, they found that about 60% of the HRS sample who left career jobs moved to a bridge job before exiting the labor force. A somewhat larger level of bridge job prevalence was found among younger cohorts of HRS respondents—those aged 51–56 years old in 1998 known as the “War Babies” and those aged 51–56 years old in 2004 known as the “Early Boomers,” (Giandrea, Cahill, & Quinn, 2009). The higher prevalence of bridge employment among the younger cohorts is due in part to the fact that the observed prevalence is based on respondents who transitioned from career employment at relatively younger ages. Those still on their career jobs will likely have lower rates of bridge employment relative to those who made the transition already, thereby lowering the eventual overall prevalence of bridge employment among the younger cohorts. The most recent evidence on bridge job prevalence confirms that this is indeed the case for the War Babies (Cahill et al., 2015a). Similar levels of bridge job prevalence as those among the initial set of HRS respondents have been observed in non-HRS data. Mutchler, Burr, Pienta, and Massagli (1997) examined “blurred” versus “crisp” exits from the labor force among older workers using the Survey of Income and Program Participation. “Blurred” exits consisted of multiple employment transitions whereas “crisp” exits were one-time single transitions out of the labor force. Mutchler and colleagues found that, among the one quarter of respondents who had made a transition over their 28-month observation period, approximately 60% had “blurred” transitions. Kantarci and van Soest (2008) summarized the literature on gradual retirement and distinguished between partial retirement, which includes a change in employers as a way to reduce labor force intensity, and phased retirement, which is a reduction in hours with the same employer. Citing an article by Scott (2004), Kantarci and van Soest reported that the prevalence of phased retirement in the United States is approximately half that of partial retirement. Among HRS respondents who made a transition from full-time employment between waves, approximately one in ten reduced hours with the same employer while two in ten changed employers. The remainder who left full-time employment were not working in the next wave. Kantarci and van Soest also concluded that the prevalence of phased retirement in the United States is limited in part because requests for reduced hour arrangements are subject to the approval of the worker’s current employer. Further, the mobility of the U.S. workforce makes partial retirement a viable option for many (Hutchens & Chen, 2007). One important conclusion from these studies on transitional retirement is that the majority of older Americans with career employment exit the labor force gradually, sometimes in the form of phased retirement with the same employer or, much more likely, partial retirement with a new employer, via a bridge job. This article asks if the extent of bridge job employment as a retirement transition is exaggerated if occupational status is not taken into account. In particular, to what extent are bridge job transitions ones in which an individual merely moves from a long-term career job to another job in the same field, a transition that could be interpreted as an extension of career employment, albeit with a new employer, rather than a transition toward retirement? Ruhm (1990) addressed this issue with data from the RHS, which took place from 1969 to 1979, and found that one third of respondents who switched jobs following career employment had remained in the same one-digit Standard Industrial Classification industry or occupation as their career jobs, but that only one in nine respondents had remained in the same industry and occupation as their career job. Ruhm’s findings suggest that, for most career workers, bridge job employment is not an extension of a prior career. Johnson, Kawachi, and Lewis (2009) examined the prevalence and determinants of “recareering” later in life, defined as a change in employer and a change in occupation. They found that, among HRS respondents aged 51–55 in 1992 who were working at the time of the first HRS interview, nearly one half left their 1992 job and were working for a new employer by 2006. Among those who changed jobs, nearly two thirds also switched (two-digit) occupations. They found that those who changed occupations often moved into jobs that were less demanding and paid less than their 1992 job. These findings suggest that job changes later in life among career workers are commonly not extensions of career employment. In related work on the determinants of career changes later in life, Von Bonsdorff, Shultz, Leskinen, and Tansky (2009) used data on 539 middle-aged Federal workers to examine bridge employment from a continuity theory and life course perspective. They found that workers were more likely to transition to a bridge job in a new field if they wanted a better use for their job-related skills and, for women, if they had relatively more nonwork interests. Gobeski and Beehr (2009) examined the determinants of career-consistent bridge employment among 171 retirees, and found that those who had skills related to their career job or whose career jobs had motivating characteristics were more likely to transition into a career-consistent bridge job, while those who experienced work strain in their career jobs were less likely to do so. This article extends the bridge job and recareering literatures by examining, specifically, the extent to which bridge job transitions involve changes in occupations or switches to part-time work. DESIGN AND METHODS The data for this study come from the HRS, a longitudinal nationally representative survey of older Americans (Juster & Suzman, 1995; Karp, 2007). The sample used here utilizes the first cohort of HRS respondents, aged 51–61 in 1992, and their spouses, known as the HRS Core. Interviews with this cohort have been conducted every other year from 1992 to 2014, when the primary respondents were aged 73–83. Of the 12,652 HRS Core respondents in 1992, just over 6,000 remained in 2014, or 48% of the original HRS Core. As noted above, our definition of FTC employment requires 1,600 or more hours per year and 10 or more years of tenure. An examination of the FTC definition reveals that minor changes in the tenure or hours requirements do not lead to substantial changes in the fraction of respondents who are considered to be on a career job in 1992 (Cahill et al., 2006). For example, reducing the tenure requirement to as low as 5 years (what would be a very short career) leads to just a 5 percentage-point increase in the percentage of men with a career job. Similarly, when tenure is increased to 20 years (almost certainly an overly stringent career definition) more than 40% of the men and 25% of the women working in 1992 still meet the FTC definition. The fraction of respondents on a career job is even less sensitive to changes in the hours requirement than it is to changes in the tenure requirement. A reduction in hours from 1,600 to 1,000 hr increases the fraction of male respondents who were on a career job in 1992 from 73% of those who were working to just 76%. For women, the increase is from 61% to 70%. In short, the 10-year, 1,600 hr/year criteria for a FTC job can be considered reasonable for the purposes of analyzing any bridge jobs that may follow them. We identify respondents whose job meets the hours and tenure requirements by observing an individual’s work status at the time of the first interview, along with information about an individual’s prior work status and work status in subsequent waves. With these work histories, we identify those who have had FTC jobs. Finally, this group of core HRS respondents is further restricted to those who were on a FTC job at the time of the first interview and to those who were among the age-eligible HRS sample (i.e., aged 51–61 in 1992). Tenure on the 1992 career job is defined as eventual tenure, based on information obtained in subsequent waves. For example, an individual who starts a full-time job in 1990 may end up holding that position until 2002. This job would therefore be classified as a FTC job for each year from 1992 to 2002 because the eventual tenure is 12 years. After the first wave, detailed information is available in subsequent interviews about each respondent’s current health status and marital status, employment status, wage or salary, pension and health insurance status, wealth (and a host of other time-dependent demographic and economic characteristics) and spouse’s health and employment status. This contemporaneous information is used to obtain a detailed profile of the respondent’s characteristics in the wave just before any job transition. Among the 5,869 men and 6,783 women who make up the HRS Core, 73% of men and 46% of women had a FTC job since age 50 (Table 1). We examine FTC jobs since age 50 so that the respondent’s job transitions take place over the same period as the HRS interviews. This approach reduces the risk of recall bias that can occur through retrospective accounts of job transitions that took place before the first HRS interview. The next restriction, requiring a FTC job in the first survey wave, yields 3,061 men and 2,568 women. Finally, restricting the sample to age-eligible respondents yields 2,649 men and 1,791 women, or 45% and 26% of men and women, respectively. Table 1. Sample Derivation for Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents on a FTC Job as of the First Interview   HRS Core Men  HRS Core Women  Total  Year of first interview  1992  1992  1992  Respondent’s age at first interview  51–61  51–61  51–61  Participated in first wave   n  5,869  6,783  12,652  Worked since age 50   n  5,359  5,320  10,679   % of respondents  91  78  84  Had FTC job since age 50   n  4,282  3,144  7,426   % of HRS Core  73  46  59  On FTC job in first interview   n  3,061  2,568  5,629   % of respondents  52  38  44  Age-eligible respondents only   n  2,649  1,791  4,440   % of respondents  45  26  35    HRS Core Men  HRS Core Women  Total  Year of first interview  1992  1992  1992  Respondent’s age at first interview  51–61  51–61  51–61  Participated in first wave   n  5,869  6,783  12,652  Worked since age 50   n  5,359  5,320  10,679   % of respondents  91  78  84  Had FTC job since age 50   n  4,282  3,144  7,426   % of HRS Core  73  46  59  On FTC job in first interview   n  3,061  2,568  5,629   % of respondents  52  38  44  Age-eligible respondents only   n  2,649  1,791  4,440   % of respondents  45  26  35  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 1. Sample Derivation for Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents on a FTC Job as of the First Interview   HRS Core Men  HRS Core Women  Total  Year of first interview  1992  1992  1992  Respondent’s age at first interview  51–61  51–61  51–61  Participated in first wave   n  5,869  6,783  12,652  Worked since age 50   n  5,359  5,320  10,679   % of respondents  91  78  84  Had FTC job since age 50   n  4,282  3,144  7,426   % of HRS Core  73  46  59  On FTC job in first interview   n  3,061  2,568  5,629   % of respondents  52  38  44  Age-eligible respondents only   n  2,649  1,791  4,440   % of respondents  45  26  35    HRS Core Men  HRS Core Women  Total  Year of first interview  1992  1992  1992  Respondent’s age at first interview  51–61  51–61  51–61  Participated in first wave   n  5,869  6,783  12,652  Worked since age 50   n  5,359  5,320  10,679   % of respondents  91  78  84  Had FTC job since age 50   n  4,282  3,144  7,426   % of HRS Core  73  46  59  On FTC job in first interview   n  3,061  2,568  5,629   % of respondents  52  38  44  Age-eligible respondents only   n  2,649  1,791  4,440   % of respondents  45  26  35  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Using this group of age-eligible HRS respondents on a FTC job at the time of the first interview we begin with an examination of their labor force status (on FTC job, transitioned to another job, not in the labor force) in each HRS interview wave, from 1992 to 2014. This cross-sectional analysis provides a first glimpse at job changes later in life. We then examine each respondent’s work history longitudinally, which allows for an analysis of how individuals transition between occupations later in life as well as the hours intensity of their work. We identify patterns of labor force withdrawal and classify HRS respondents into categories based on their labor force participation pathways (e.g., still on a FTC job; FTC job to out of the labor force; FTC job to bridge job to out of the labor force). We cross these pathways with whether the transition, or any transition, entailed a change in occupation or a reduction in hours to part-time work. We then examine the types of occupational changes made pre- and post-transition, along with the respondent’s stated reasons for leaving FTC employment—a subjective assessment that is used to validate the objective findings. Finally, we explore the demographic and economic determinants of retirement transitions both descriptively and in a multivariate context. These follow-up analyses are conducted to determine if the retirement nature of bridge job transitions are, for the most part, universal or if they are specific to any particular respondent type or job category. We conduct our analysis for men and women separately because differences in bridge employment by gender have been identified in the retirement literature. We also examine part-time employment in conjunction with occupational changes only, as the existing literature has examined the extent to which bridge jobs are part time (without addressing occupational changes). See, for example, Cahill, Giandrea, and Quinn (2013a, 2013b). RESULTS Bridge Job Prevalence A cross-sectional description of the labor force status of selected respondents at the time of each interview is presented in Table 2. By construction, 100% of the sample was on a FTC job in 1992. By 1998, however, just 6 years later, only about 40% (38% of the men and 36% of the women) remained on that FTC job. Respondents no longer on a FTC job in 1998 were divided between being on another job and having left the labor force, with a higher percentage in the latter category. By 2014, the most recent interview, only about 3% of respondents were still full-time on their 1992 career job. About 16% of the men and 12% of the women were working on another job and more than 80% were out of the labor force. The cross-sectional data in Table 2 show that while many respondents leave their FTC job and the labor force at the same time, many do not. From 1994 to 2014, the fraction of respondents who had moved to a new job ranged from about 10% for both men and women (in 1994) to about 34% (in 2000). From 2000 forward, when the sample was 59–69 years old, there were more respondents on other jobs than there were still on original career jobs. The percentage of those on other jobs who were working part-time (less than 1,600 hr/year) rose over time, though not monotonically, from the 40%–50% range to more than 80% in 2014. Table 2. Labor Force Status, by Year and Gender Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents on a Full-Time Career Job in 1992 Year  Age  n  Full-Time Career job (%)  Other Job (%)  Not in Labor Force (%)  Don’t Know (%)  % PT on “Other” Job  Men   1992  51–61  2,649  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  2,409  78  10  11  1  44   1996  55–65  2,283  60  16  23  1  40   1998  57–67  2,175  38  28  33  1  47   2000  59–69  2,047  25  34  40  1  45   2002  61–71  1,994  18  32  50  0  52   2004  63–73  1,897  14  30  55  0  65   2006  65–75  1,799  9  28  62  0  70   2008  67–77  1,714  8  27  65  0  73   2010  69–79  1,598  5  22  71  3  78   2012  71–81  1,470  5  17  76  1  80   2014  73–83  1,299  3  16  80  2  85  Women   1992  51–61  1,791  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  1,652  76  11  12  1  59   1996  55–65  1,564  59  14  26  1  43   1998  57–67  1,492  36  27  37  1  47   2000  59–69  1,426  22  33  43  1  49   2002  61–71  1,394  15  30  55  0  60   2004  63–73  1,352  13  28  59  0  72   2006  65–75  1,293  8  25  67  0  75   2008  67–77  1,249  5  23  72  0  78   2010  69–79  1,181  3  18  77  2  89   2012  71–81  1,133  2  16  82  0  91   2014  73–83  1,038  2  12  85  1  98  Year  Age  n  Full-Time Career job (%)  Other Job (%)  Not in Labor Force (%)  Don’t Know (%)  % PT on “Other” Job  Men   1992  51–61  2,649  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  2,409  78  10  11  1  44   1996  55–65  2,283  60  16  23  1  40   1998  57–67  2,175  38  28  33  1  47   2000  59–69  2,047  25  34  40  1  45   2002  61–71  1,994  18  32  50  0  52   2004  63–73  1,897  14  30  55  0  65   2006  65–75  1,799  9  28  62  0  70   2008  67–77  1,714  8  27  65  0  73   2010  69–79  1,598  5  22  71  3  78   2012  71–81  1,470  5  17  76  1  80   2014  73–83  1,299  3  16  80  2  85  Women   1992  51–61  1,791  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  1,652  76  11  12  1  59   1996  55–65  1,564  59  14  26  1  43   1998  57–67  1,492  36  27  37  1  47   2000  59–69  1,426  22  33  43  1  49   2002  61–71  1,394  15  30  55  0  60   2004  63–73  1,352  13  28  59  0  72   2006  65–75  1,293  8  25  67  0  75   2008  67–77  1,249  5  23  72  0  78   2010  69–79  1,181  3  18  77  2  89   2012  71–81  1,133  2  16  82  0  91   2014  73–83  1,038  2  12  85  1  98  Note. HRS = Health and Retirement Study; PT = part time. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 2. Labor Force Status, by Year and Gender Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents on a Full-Time Career Job in 1992 Year  Age  n  Full-Time Career job (%)  Other Job (%)  Not in Labor Force (%)  Don’t Know (%)  % PT on “Other” Job  Men   1992  51–61  2,649  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  2,409  78  10  11  1  44   1996  55–65  2,283  60  16  23  1  40   1998  57–67  2,175  38  28  33  1  47   2000  59–69  2,047  25  34  40  1  45   2002  61–71  1,994  18  32  50  0  52   2004  63–73  1,897  14  30  55  0  65   2006  65–75  1,799  9  28  62  0  70   2008  67–77  1,714  8  27  65  0  73   2010  69–79  1,598  5  22  71  3  78   2012  71–81  1,470  5  17  76  1  80   2014  73–83  1,299  3  16  80  2  85  Women   1992  51–61  1,791  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  1,652  76  11  12  1  59   1996  55–65  1,564  59  14  26  1  43   1998  57–67  1,492  36  27  37  1  47   2000  59–69  1,426  22  33  43  1  49   2002  61–71  1,394  15  30  55  0  60   2004  63–73  1,352  13  28  59  0  72   2006  65–75  1,293  8  25  67  0  75   2008  67–77  1,249  5  23  72  0  78   2010  69–79  1,181  3  18  77  2  89   2012  71–81  1,133  2  16  82  0  91   2014  73–83  1,038  2  12  85  1  98  Year  Age  n  Full-Time Career job (%)  Other Job (%)  Not in Labor Force (%)  Don’t Know (%)  % PT on “Other” Job  Men   1992  51–61  2,649  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  2,409  78  10  11  1  44   1996  55–65  2,283  60  16  23  1  40   1998  57–67  2,175  38  28  33  1  47   2000  59–69  2,047  25  34  40  1  45   2002  61–71  1,994  18  32  50  0  52   2004  63–73  1,897  14  30  55  0  65   2006  65–75  1,799  9  28  62  0  70   2008  67–77  1,714  8  27  65  0  73   2010  69–79  1,598  5  22  71  3  78   2012  71–81  1,470  5  17  76  1  80   2014  73–83  1,299  3  16  80  2  85  Women   1992  51–61  1,791  100  0  0  0  0   1994  53–63  1,652  76  11  12  1  59   1996  55–65  1,564  59  14  26  1  43   1998  57–67  1,492  36  27  37  1  47   2000  59–69  1,426  22  33  43  1  49   2002  61–71  1,394  15  30  55  0  60   2004  63–73  1,352  13  28  59  0  72   2006  65–75  1,293  8  25  67  0  75   2008  67–77  1,249  5  23  72  0  78   2010  69–79  1,181  3  18  77  2  89   2012  71–81  1,133  2  16  82  0  91   2014  73–83  1,038  2  12  85  1  98  Note. HRS = Health and Retirement Study; PT = part time. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large The cross-sectional results in Table 2 present a lower bound for the degree of bridge job activity because many people classified as not in the labor force, especially in later waves, may have had a bridge job before their exit. The cross-sectional results in Table 2 might also be vulnerable to selection bias caused by attrition, as those who remain in the survey in later waves might be more likely than those who drop out to transition into “Other jobs.” Therefore, the next step is to use the longitudinal nature of the HRS to construct the work histories of each respondent who held a FTC job in 1992 and examine how they left the labor force (Table 3). Of those who participated in the 2014 survey and had left a career job, 63% of men and women had taken a bridge job or exited and later reentered, and the majority of the bridge jobs taken were part time. For respondents who had left the HRS before 2014, either due to death or failure to conduct a follow-up survey, and who had an observed transition from the 1992 career job, 66% of the men and women had moved to a bridge job or exited the labor force and reentered. These results are consistent with previous estimates of bridge job prevalence, as noted above. Table 3. Current or Last-Observed Employment Status as of 2014, by Gender, Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents on a Full-Time Career Job in 1992   n  On Full-Time Career Job (%)  On Bridge Job or Reentered (%)  % Part Time  Don’t Know (%)  Percent With Bridge Job or Reentrya  In 2014 surveyb   Men, workingc  257  3  15  50  1     Men, nonworking, last job was  1,036  34  42  55  4     Total  1,293  38  57    5  63   Women, working  154  2  13  60  1     Women, nonworking, last job was  881  37  45  66  3     Total  1,035  39  57    4  61  Last observed status of those not in 2014 survey   Men, no transition observed  571  42  —    —     Men, last observed job was  779  19  36  50  3     Total  1,350  62  36    3  66   Women, no transition observed  342  45  —    —     Women, last observed job was  411  22  30  55  2     Total  753  68  30    2  66    n  On Full-Time Career Job (%)  On Bridge Job or Reentered (%)  % Part Time  Don’t Know (%)  Percent With Bridge Job or Reentrya  In 2014 surveyb   Men, workingc  257  3  15  50  1     Men, nonworking, last job was  1,036  34  42  55  4     Total  1,293  38  57    5  63   Women, working  154  2  13  60  1     Women, nonworking, last job was  881  37  45  66  3     Total  1,035  39  57    4  61  Last observed status of those not in 2014 survey   Men, no transition observed  571  42  —    —     Men, last observed job was  779  19  36  50  3     Total  1,350  62  36    3  66   Women, no transition observed  342  45  —    —     Women, last observed job was  411  22  30  55  2     Total  753  68  30    2  66  Note. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aThe percent with bridge job or reentry job is based on the bolded values. For example, for men in the 2014 survey, the percent of those who left full-time career work and moved to a bridge job is calculated as (15% + 42%) / (15% + 42% + 34%) = 63%. For those not in the 2014 survey, % with bridge = (36%) / (19% + 36%) = 66%. bPercentages add to 100% for each group examined. For example, among men in the 2014 survey, the percentages are: (a) working on a full-time career job (3%), (b) working on a bridge or reentry job (15%), (c) working but status could not be determined (1%), (d) not working and last job was a full-time career job (34%), (e) not working and last job was a bridge or reentry job (42%), and (f) not working and last job status could not be determined (4%). These percentages add to 100% (100% = 3% + 15% + 1% + 34% + 42% + 4%). cWork status in 2014 could not be determined for 6 men and 3 women. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 3. Current or Last-Observed Employment Status as of 2014, by Gender, Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents on a Full-Time Career Job in 1992   n  On Full-Time Career Job (%)  On Bridge Job or Reentered (%)  % Part Time  Don’t Know (%)  Percent With Bridge Job or Reentrya  In 2014 surveyb   Men, workingc  257  3  15  50  1     Men, nonworking, last job was  1,036  34  42  55  4     Total  1,293  38  57    5  63   Women, working  154  2  13  60  1     Women, nonworking, last job was  881  37  45  66  3     Total  1,035  39  57    4  61  Last observed status of those not in 2014 survey   Men, no transition observed  571  42  —    —     Men, last observed job was  779  19  36  50  3     Total  1,350  62  36    3  66   Women, no transition observed  342  45  —    —     Women, last observed job was  411  22  30  55  2     Total  753  68  30    2  66    n  On Full-Time Career Job (%)  On Bridge Job or Reentered (%)  % Part Time  Don’t Know (%)  Percent With Bridge Job or Reentrya  In 2014 surveyb   Men, workingc  257  3  15  50  1     Men, nonworking, last job was  1,036  34  42  55  4     Total  1,293  38  57    5  63   Women, working  154  2  13  60  1     Women, nonworking, last job was  881  37  45  66  3     Total  1,035  39  57    4  61  Last observed status of those not in 2014 survey   Men, no transition observed  571  42  —    —     Men, last observed job was  779  19  36  50  3     Total  1,350  62  36    3  66   Women, no transition observed  342  45  —    —     Women, last observed job was  411  22  30  55  2     Total  753  68  30    2  66  Note. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aThe percent with bridge job or reentry job is based on the bolded values. For example, for men in the 2014 survey, the percent of those who left full-time career work and moved to a bridge job is calculated as (15% + 42%) / (15% + 42% + 34%) = 63%. For those not in the 2014 survey, % with bridge = (36%) / (19% + 36%) = 66%. bPercentages add to 100% for each group examined. For example, among men in the 2014 survey, the percentages are: (a) working on a full-time career job (3%), (b) working on a bridge or reentry job (15%), (c) working but status could not be determined (1%), (d) not working and last job was a full-time career job (34%), (e) not working and last job was a bridge or reentry job (42%), and (f) not working and last job status could not be determined (4%). These percentages add to 100% (100% = 3% + 15% + 1% + 34% + 42% + 4%). cWork status in 2014 could not be determined for 6 men and 3 women. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Changes in Occupation and Switches to Part-Time Status The key question for this article is whether these transitional jobs are distinct from the respondents’ career jobs; that is, are they truly bridges to retirement or just another job change, perhaps among many, in a respondent’s career. In Table 4 (men) and Table 5 (women), we describe the labor market transitions of our sample of those with FTC jobs in 1992, with additional information on occupational changes. Among the men, we observed no transition from the 1992 job for many—2% were still on that FTC job in 2014 and 21% were last observed on that career job, and then disappeared from the HRS sample. Another 26% of men exited the labor force directly from the FTC job and either were still out in 2014 (18%), or were last observed out (8%) before disappearing from the sample. Transition status could not be determined for 4% of men. Analogous percentages among the FTC women (Table 5) were similar—18% were last observed still on their 1992 FTC job, 31% moved directly out of the labor force, and we could not discern transition status for another 4%. For approximately half of our sample, then, complete work histories are not available, limiting the extent to which we can learn about bridge job transitions from these respondents. Table 4. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs by Two-Digit Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Men Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  Excluded from further analysis  1428  53.9                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  44  38.6  81  71.1  68  59.6  97  85.1  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  92  44.4  148  71.5  99  47.8  156  75.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  190  43.2  308  70.0  240  54.5  340  77.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  69  47.6  104  71.7  81  55.9  112  77.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  56  45.5  90  73.2  69  56.1  98  79.7    1035  39.1  451  43.8  731  71.0  557  54.1  803  78.0  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  78  71.6  91  83.5  81  74.3  97  89.0  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  50  65.8  58  76.3  54  71.1  60  78.9    186  7.0  128  69.2  149  80.5  135  73.0  157  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  579  47.7  880  72.5  692  57.0  960  79.1  Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  Excluded from further analysis  1428  53.9                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  44  38.6  81  71.1  68  59.6  97  85.1  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  92  44.4  148  71.5  99  47.8  156  75.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  190  43.2  308  70.0  240  54.5  340  77.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  69  47.6  104  71.7  81  55.9  112  77.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  56  45.5  90  73.2  69  56.1  98  79.7    1035  39.1  451  43.8  731  71.0  557  54.1  803  78.0  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  78  71.6  91  83.5  81  74.3  97  89.0  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  50  65.8  58  76.3  54  71.1  60  78.9    186  7.0  128  69.2  149  80.5  135  73.0  157  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  579  47.7  880  72.5  692  57.0  960  79.1  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for six (6) respondents who took bridge jobs and for one (1) respondent who reentered. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. Twelve (12) respondents were known to have moved to a bridge job but further transitions could not be determined. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 4. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs by Two-Digit Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Men Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  Excluded from further analysis  1428  53.9                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  44  38.6  81  71.1  68  59.6  97  85.1  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  92  44.4  148  71.5  99  47.8  156  75.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  190  43.2  308  70.0  240  54.5  340  77.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  69  47.6  104  71.7  81  55.9  112  77.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  56  45.5  90  73.2  69  56.1  98  79.7    1035  39.1  451  43.8  731  71.0  557  54.1  803  78.0  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  78  71.6  91  83.5  81  74.3  97  89.0  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  50  65.8  58  76.3  54  71.1  60  78.9    186  7.0  128  69.2  149  80.5  135  73.0  157  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  579  47.7  880  72.5  692  57.0  960  79.1  Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  Excluded from further analysis  1428  53.9                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  44  38.6  81  71.1  68  59.6  97  85.1  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  92  44.4  148  71.5  99  47.8  156  75.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  190  43.2  308  70.0  240  54.5  340  77.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  69  47.6  104  71.7  81  55.9  112  77.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  56  45.5  90  73.2  69  56.1  98  79.7    1035  39.1  451  43.8  731  71.0  557  54.1  803  78.0  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  78  71.6  91  83.5  81  74.3  97  89.0  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  50  65.8  58  76.3  54  71.1  60  78.9    186  7.0  128  69.2  149  80.5  135  73.0  157  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  579  47.7  880  72.5  692  57.0  960  79.1  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for six (6) respondents who took bridge jobs and for one (1) respondent who reentered. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. Twelve (12) respondents were known to have moved to a bridge job but further transitions could not be determined. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 5. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs by Two-Digit Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Women Work Status  First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  Excluded from further analysis  973  54.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  26  36.1  47  65.3  38  52.8  56  77.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  31  31.6  67  68.4  39  39.8  72  73.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  132  34.9  286  75.7  161  42.6  307  81.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  26  40.0  50  76.9  28  43.1  52  80.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  33  46.5  56  78.9  39  54.9  56  78.9    692  38.6  248  36.3  506  74.0  305  44.6  543  79.4  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  50  59.5  60  71.4  56  66.7  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  21  50.0  30  71.4  22  52.4  34  81.0    126  7.0  71  56.3  90  71.4  78  61.9  107  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  319  39.4  596  73.6  383  47.3  650  80.2  Work Status  First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  Excluded from further analysis  973  54.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  26  36.1  47  65.3  38  52.8  56  77.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  31  31.6  67  68.4  39  39.8  72  73.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  132  34.9  286  75.7  161  42.6  307  81.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  26  40.0  50  76.9  28  43.1  52  80.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  33  46.5  56  78.9  39  54.9  56  78.9    692  38.6  248  36.3  506  74.0  305  44.6  543  79.4  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  50  59.5  60  71.4  56  66.7  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  21  50.0  30  71.4  22  52.4  34  81.0    126  7.0  71  56.3  90  71.4  78  61.9  107  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  319  39.4  596  73.6  383  47.3  650  80.2  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for eight (8) respondents who took bridge jobs. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 5. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs by Two-Digit Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Women Work Status  First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  Excluded from further analysis  973  54.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  26  36.1  47  65.3  38  52.8  56  77.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  31  31.6  67  68.4  39  39.8  72  73.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  132  34.9  286  75.7  161  42.6  307  81.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  26  40.0  50  76.9  28  43.1  52  80.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  33  46.5  56  78.9  39  54.9  56  78.9    692  38.6  248  36.3  506  74.0  305  44.6  543  79.4  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  50  59.5  60  71.4  56  66.7  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  21  50.0  30  71.4  22  52.4  34  81.0    126  7.0  71  56.3  90  71.4  78  61.9  107  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  319  39.4  596  73.6  383  47.3  650  80.2  Work Status  First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  Excluded from further analysis  973  54.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  26  36.1  47  65.3  38  52.8  56  77.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  31  31.6  67  68.4  39  39.8  72  73.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  132  34.9  286  75.7  161  42.6  307  81.2  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  26  40.0  50  76.9  28  43.1  52  80.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  33  46.5  56  78.9  39  54.9  56  78.9    692  38.6  248  36.3  506  74.0  305  44.6  543  79.4  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  50  59.5  60  71.4  56  66.7  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  21  50.0  30  71.4  22  52.4  34  81.0    126  7.0  71  56.3  90  71.4  78  61.9  107  84.9  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  319  39.4  596  73.6  383  47.3  650  80.2  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for eight (8) respondents who took bridge jobs. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large But from the other half of the sample (1,221 men and 818 women) who first transitioned to a bridge job or who followed a different type of retirement pathway—reentering the labor force following an initial retirement, we can observe occupational change. Tables 4 and 5 show the fraction of respondents who experienced a change in two-digit occupation at the time of their first transition (column 4), and the percentage who either changed occupation or dropped to part-time status, or both (column 6). Among those who moved from career employment to a bridge job, 44% of the men and 36% of the women changed their two-digit occupation (Tables 4 and 5, column 4). The 17 occupational codes are defined as follows: (a) managerial specialty operators (WC-HS); (b) professional specialty operator/tech sup (WC-HS); (c) sales (WC-OTH); (d) clerical/admin sup (WC-OTH); (e) service: private household/cleaning/building service (BC-OTH); (f) service: protection (BC-HS); (g) service: food prep (BC-OTH); (h) health service (BC-HS); (i) personal service (BC-OTH); (j) farming/forestry/fishing (BC-HS); (k) mechanics/repair (BC-HS); (l) construction trade/extractors (BC-HS); (m) precision production (BC-HS); (n) operators: machine (BC-OTH); (o) operators: transport, etc (BC-OTH); (p) operators: handlers, etc. (BC-OTH); and (q) member of armed forces (BC-OTH), where WC and BC denotes that the category is classified as white-collar or blue-collar, respectively, and HS and OTH denotes that the category is classified as highly skilled or other, respectively. Changes in occupation were even more common among those who exited the labor force for at least 2 years before reentering and taking a bridge job (also column 4). Nearly 70% of the men and about 60% of the women who retired and then reentered the labor force changed occupations when they returned. When these two groups are combined (the large number who moved from a FTC job to a bridge job, and the much smaller number who retired and reentered), 48% of the men and 39% of the women changed two-digit occupation (column 4, last row). When switches to part-time status are added to occupational changes (one, the other, or both), 71% of the men and 74% of the women experienced either a change in two-digit occupation and/or a switch from full-time to part-time status when they moved directly to a bridge job (column 6). When these respondents and those who exited and returned are combined, 73% of the men and 74% of the women (column 6, last row) changed two-digit occupation and/or switched to part-time status. Further, when all transitions are considered, not just the first one, about 80% of the men and women experienced at least one job change following career employment that entailed a change in occupation and/or a switch to part-time status. The 17 (two-digit) occupational codes used in Tables 4 and 5 could mask certain transitions toward retirement. On the one hand, some transitions within a two-digit code might be to a different job, such as from a change from a financial manager to education administrator, both of which are classified as management occupations. On the other hand, the 17 (two-digit) occupational codes might be overly restrictive and some respondents might continue to be in a similar career but list the new job under a different, related occupational code. For example, a change in occupation from Managerial Specialty Operations to Professional Specialty Operations might not be meaningful enough to classify the change as a definitive retirement transition. To address this potential weakness, the 17 occupation codes were grouped into four categories: (a) white collar, highly skilled (WC-HS); (b) white collar, other (WC-OTH); (c) blue collar, highly skilled (BC-HS); and (d) blue collar, other (BC-OTH), as defined above. Using these more aggregated occupation classifications, Tables 6 and 7 show that the overall fraction of men who changed occupations when they changed jobs (on the first transition) is reduced from 48% to 34% (Table 6, column 4, bottom row). For women, the reduction is from 39% to 30% (Table 7). When switches to part-time status are also taken into account, the fraction with either a change in occupation or switch to part-time status is reduced from 73% to 66% among men and from 74% to 70% among women (column 6, bottom row). When all job changes are considered, the percentages of men and women who change occupation are about 5 percentage-points lower than those based on the two-digit occupation classifications (cols. 10, bottom row). Therefore, even when the aggregated four-way occupational groupings are used, the large majority (over three-quarters) of HRS respondents who changed jobs also changed occupations or switched to part-time status. Table 6. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs By Four-Way Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Men Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  33  28.9  77  67.5  58  50.9  91  79.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  68  32.9  136  65.7  77  37.2  146  70.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  137  31.1  282  64.1  174  39.5  318  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  40  27.6  93  64.1  50  34.5  101  69.7  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  38  30.9  82  66.7  52  42.3  90  73.2    1035  39.1  316  30.7  670  65.1  411  39.9  746  72.5  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  64  58.7  82  75.2  66  60.6  94  86.2  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  37  48.7  53  69.7  42  55.3  57  75.0    186  7.0  101  54.6  135  73.0  108  58.4  151  81.6  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  417  34.3  805  66.3  519  42.8  897  73.9  Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  33  28.9  77  67.5  58  50.9  91  79.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  68  32.9  136  65.7  77  37.2  146  70.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  137  31.1  282  64.1  174  39.5  318  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  40  27.6  93  64.1  50  34.5  101  69.7  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  38  30.9  82  66.7  52  42.3  90  73.2    1035  39.1  316  30.7  670  65.1  411  39.9  746  72.5  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  64  58.7  82  75.2  66  60.6  94  86.2  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  37  48.7  53  69.7  42  55.3  57  75.0    186  7.0  101  54.6  135  73.0  108  58.4  151  81.6  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  417  34.3  805  66.3  519  42.8  897  73.9  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for six (6) respondents who took bridge jobs and for one (1) respondent who reentered. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 6. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs By Four-Way Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Men Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  33  28.9  77  67.5  58  50.9  91  79.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  68  32.9  136  65.7  77  37.2  146  70.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  137  31.1  282  64.1  174  39.5  318  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  40  27.6  93  64.1  50  34.5  101  69.7  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  38  30.9  82  66.7  52  42.3  90  73.2    1035  39.1  316  30.7  670  65.1  411  39.9  746  72.5  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  64  58.7  82  75.2  66  60.6  94  86.2  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  37  48.7  53  69.7  42  55.3  57  75.0    186  7.0  101  54.6  135  73.0  108  58.4  151  81.6  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  417  34.3  805  66.3  519  42.8  897  73.9  Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  2649  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  48  1.8                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  564  21.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  480  18.1                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  223  8.4                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  113  4.3                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  116  4.4  33  28.9  77  67.5  58  50.9  91  79.8  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  208  7.9  68  32.9  136  65.7  77  37.2  146  70.5  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  443  16.7  137  31.1  282  64.1  174  39.5  318  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  145  5.5  40  27.6  93  64.1  50  34.5  101  69.7  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  123  4.6  38  30.9  82  66.7  52  42.3  90  73.2    1035  39.1  316  30.7  670  65.1  411  39.9  746  72.5  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  109  4.1  64  58.7  82  75.2  66  60.6  94  86.2  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  77  2.9  37  48.7  53  69.7  42  55.3  57  75.0    186  7.0  101  54.6  135  73.0  108  58.4  151  81.6  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  1221  46.1  417  34.3  805  66.3  519  42.8  897  73.9  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for six (6) respondents who took bridge jobs and for one (1) respondent who reentered. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 7. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs by Four-Way Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Women Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  15  20.8  43  59.7  30  41.7  54  75.0  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  25  25.5  64  65.3  32  32.7  68  69.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  104  27.5  272  72.0  135  35.7  295  78.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  17  26.2  46  70.8  18  27.7  47  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  24  33.8  53  74.6  28  39.4  53  74.6    692  38.6  185  27.0  478  69.9  243  35.5  517  75.6  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  41  48.8  58  69.0  47  56.0  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  14  33.3  27  64.3  15  35.7  32  76.2    126  7.0  55  43.7  85  67.5  62  49.2  105  83.3  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  240  29.6  563  69.5  305  37.7  622  76.8  Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  15  20.8  43  59.7  30  41.7  54  75.0  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  25  25.5  64  65.3  32  32.7  68  69.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  104  27.5  272  72.0  135  35.7  295  78.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  17  26.2  46  70.8  18  27.7  47  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  24  33.8  53  74.6  28  39.4  53  74.6    692  38.6  185  27.0  478  69.9  243  35.5  517  75.6  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  41  48.8  58  69.0  47  56.0  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  14  33.3  27  64.3  15  35.7  32  76.2    126  7.0  55  43.7  85  67.5  62  49.2  105  83.3  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  240  29.6  563  69.5  305  37.7  622  76.8  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for eight (8) respondents who took bridge jobs. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 7. Transitions From Career to Bridge Jobs by Four-Way Occupational Status and Part-Time Status of Bridge Jobs, Women Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  15  20.8  43  59.7  30  41.7  54  75.0  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  25  25.5  64  65.3  32  32.7  68  69.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  104  27.5  272  72.0  135  35.7  295  78.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  17  26.2  46  70.8  18  27.7  47  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  24  33.8  53  74.6  28  39.4  53  74.6    692  38.6  185  27.0  478  69.9  243  35.5  517  75.6  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  41  48.8  58  69.0  47  56.0  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  14  33.3  27  64.3  15  35.7  32  76.2    126  7.0  55  43.7  85  67.5  62  49.2  105  83.3  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  240  29.6  563  69.5  305  37.7  622  76.8  Work Status      First Transition Following FTC Employment  Any Transition Following FTC Employment  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time  Change in Occupation  Change in Occupation or Switch to Part Time    n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  n  %  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  Total sample size  1791  100.0                  Still on 1992 FTC job in 2014  17  0.9                  Last observed on 1992 FTC job  328  18.3                  FTC⇒out of labor force and still out in 2014  408  22.8                  FTC⇒out of labor force and last observed out before 2014  147  8.2                  Don’t know post 1992 job status  73  4.1                  FTC⇒bridge, and still on bridge in 2014  73  4.1  15  20.8  43  59.7  30  41.7  54  75.0  FTC⇒bridge and last observed on bridge  101  5.6  25  25.5  64  65.3  32  32.7  68  69.4  FTC⇒bridge⇒out of labor force and out in 2014  381  21.3  104  27.5  272  72.0  135  35.7  295  78.0  FTC⇒bridge⇒out and last observed out  66  3.7  17  26.2  46  70.8  18  27.7  47  72.3  FTC⇒bridge⇒out⇒reentered labor force  71  4.0  24  33.8  53  74.6  28  39.4  53  74.6    692  38.6  185  27.0  478  69.9  243  35.5  517  75.6  FTC⇒out⇒reenter  84  4.7  41  48.8  58  69.0  47  56.0  73  86.9  Last FTC⇒out⇒reenter  42  2.3  14  33.3  27  64.3  15  35.7  32  76.2    126  7.0  55  43.7  85  67.5  62  49.2  105  83.3  Any FTC⇒bridge or FTC⇒out⇒reenter  818  45.7  240  29.6  563  69.5  305  37.7  622  76.8  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for eight (8) respondents who took bridge jobs. These observations are excluded from the denominator for the percentages calculated in column 10. FTC = full-time career. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large One notable finding regarding these occupational changes is that they occur for all types of workers. Among men, the fraction of career workers who remained in the same broad four-way occupation when making their first transition ranged from 52% among “white collar, other” workers to 72% among “blue collar, other” workers (Table 8). Among women, these percentages ranged from 53% (“blue collar, highly skilled”) to 82% (“blue collar, other”). In other words, even using these very broad occupational categories, between 28% and 48% of the men and between 18% and 47% of the women changed occupations when leaving their career jobs. A sizable minority of white collar workers moved into blue collar occupations, and vice versa. For example, 22% of 614 white collar workers in Table 8 moved into blue collar occupations and 14% of 567 blue collar workers moved into white collar occupations. Among women (Table 9), the transitions from white collar to blue collar were less likely (13%), but the changes from blue collar to white collar were more common (15%) than for men. Altogether, 34% of the men and 29% of the women moved from one of the four-way categories to another when they moved to a bridge job. Table 8. Occupational Status Before and After the First Job Transition, Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a FTC Job in 1992 Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar  Total  Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  White collar   Highly skilled  307  59  44  36  446    68.8%  13.2%  9.9%  8.1%  100.0%   Other  23  87  26  32  168    13.7%  51.8%  15.5%  19.0%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  28  18  206  64  316    8.9%  5.7%  65.2%  20.3%  100.0%   Other  15  18  38  180  251    6.0%  7.2%  15.1%  71.7%  100.0%  Total  373  182  314  312  1,181  Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar  Total  Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  White collar   Highly skilled  307  59  44  36  446    68.8%  13.2%  9.9%  8.1%  100.0%   Other  23  87  26  32  168    13.7%  51.8%  15.5%  19.0%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  28  18  206  64  316    8.9%  5.7%  65.2%  20.3%  100.0%   Other  15  18  38  180  251    6.0%  7.2%  15.1%  71.7%  100.0%  Total  373  182  314  312  1,181  Note. Occupational status both before and after the first transition could not be determined for 40 respondents. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 8. Occupational Status Before and After the First Job Transition, Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a FTC Job in 1992 Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar  Total  Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  White collar   Highly skilled  307  59  44  36  446    68.8%  13.2%  9.9%  8.1%  100.0%   Other  23  87  26  32  168    13.7%  51.8%  15.5%  19.0%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  28  18  206  64  316    8.9%  5.7%  65.2%  20.3%  100.0%   Other  15  18  38  180  251    6.0%  7.2%  15.1%  71.7%  100.0%  Total  373  182  314  312  1,181  Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar  Total  Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  White collar   Highly skilled  307  59  44  36  446    68.8%  13.2%  9.9%  8.1%  100.0%   Other  23  87  26  32  168    13.7%  51.8%  15.5%  19.0%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  28  18  206  64  316    8.9%  5.7%  65.2%  20.3%  100.0%   Other  15  18  38  180  251    6.0%  7.2%  15.1%  71.7%  100.0%  Total  373  182  314  312  1,181  Note. Occupational status both before and after the first transition could not be determined for 40 respondents. The italics values denote categories excluded from further analysis. The bold values reflect totals. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 9. Occupational Status Before and After the First Job Transition, Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a FTC Job in 1992 Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar    Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  Total  White collar   Highly skilled  188  62  13  18  281    66.9%  22.1%  4.6%  6.4%  100.0%   Other  34  197  9  31  271    12.5%  72.7%  3.3%  11.4%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  6  8  42  23  79    7.6%  10.1%  53.2%  29.1%  100.0%   Other  4  18  6  131  159    2.5%  11.3%  3.8%  82.4%  100.0%  Total  232  285  70  203  790  Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar    Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  Total  White collar   Highly skilled  188  62  13  18  281    66.9%  22.1%  4.6%  6.4%  100.0%   Other  34  197  9  31  271    12.5%  72.7%  3.3%  11.4%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  6  8  42  23  79    7.6%  10.1%  53.2%  29.1%  100.0%   Other  4  18  6  131  159    2.5%  11.3%  3.8%  82.4%  100.0%  Total  232  285  70  203  790  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for 28 respondents. Bold values highlight respondents who had the same general occupational status before and after their transition. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 9. Occupational Status Before and After the First Job Transition, Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a FTC Job in 1992 Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar    Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  Total  White collar   Highly skilled  188  62  13  18  281    66.9%  22.1%  4.6%  6.4%  100.0%   Other  34  197  9  31  271    12.5%  72.7%  3.3%  11.4%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  6  8  42  23  79    7.6%  10.1%  53.2%  29.1%  100.0%   Other  4  18  6  131  159    2.5%  11.3%  3.8%  82.4%  100.0%  Total  232  285  70  203  790  Before Transition  First Transition From FTC Job  White Collar  Blue Collar    Highly Skilled  Other  Highly Skilled  Other  Total  White collar   Highly skilled  188  62  13  18  281    66.9%  22.1%  4.6%  6.4%  100.0%   Other  34  197  9  31  271    12.5%  72.7%  3.3%  11.4%  100.0%  Blue collar   Highly skilled  6  8  42  23  79    7.6%  10.1%  53.2%  29.1%  100.0%   Other  4  18  6  131  159    2.5%  11.3%  3.8%  82.4%  100.0%  Total  232  285  70  203  790  Note. Occupational status of the first transition could not be determined for 28 respondents. Bold values highlight respondents who had the same general occupational status before and after their transition. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Reasons for Changing Jobs The results thus far indicate that the large majority of older career workers who made a transition either take on a different two-digit occupation and/or switch to part-time status. Next, to assess whether transitions to full-time bridge jobs in the same occupation are also retirement-related, we compare the reasons for leaving career employment for those who changed occupations or switched to part-time status and for those who had no change in occupation and continued to work full time (Table 10). The first finding of note is that 33% of the men and 44% of the women who remained working full time reduced their hours, just not to the degree that would characterize them as working part time (below 1,600 hr). This result is consistent with the notion that these older workers are transitioning out of the labor force. A second interesting finding is that approximately one quarter of the workers who moved to a bridge job but remained working full time in the same occupation switched jobs involuntarily (26% of the men and 22% of the women), an exogenous nudge toward retirement. Importantly, some of these job changes later in life may not be transitions to retirement. For example, as shown in Table 10, those who changed jobs but not occupations and remained working full time were much less likely than other workers who changed jobs to report that they “retired” (10% vs. 33% among men and 8% vs. 21% among women). Table 10. Reasons for Leaving Full-Time Career Employment, by Gender, Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents Who Left Career Employment by 2014 Reasona,b  Voluntary?  Men  Women  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  Business closed  No  11.3%  7.7%  11.3%  8.4%  Laid off  No  13.7  8.5  10.3  7.4  Health reasons  No  1.2  2.6  0.0  3.0  Family care  No  0.0  0.5  1.0  1.7  Better job  Yes  11.3  4.6  11.3  5.4  Quit  Yes  6.6  5.2  9.3  10.1  Retired  Yes  10.1  32.8  8.3  20.6  Moved  Yes  1.2  0.7  0.0  1.5  Sold business  Yes  0.0  1.1  2.1  0.7  Reduced hours  Yes  32.7  34.5  44.3  42.8  Other  Uncertain  2.4  2.1  1.0  0.3  Switched from W&S to SE  Uncertain  10.1  6.9  2.1  3.4  Switched from SE to W&S  Uncertain  8.9  10.8  5.2  6.4  Any involuntary reason    26.2  18.0  21.7  17.9  Voluntary reasons only    61.3  75.3  74.2  78.6  Reason unknown    28.5  23.8  35.8  25.2  Reasona,b  Voluntary?  Men  Women  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  Business closed  No  11.3%  7.7%  11.3%  8.4%  Laid off  No  13.7  8.5  10.3  7.4  Health reasons  No  1.2  2.6  0.0  3.0  Family care  No  0.0  0.5  1.0  1.7  Better job  Yes  11.3  4.6  11.3  5.4  Quit  Yes  6.6  5.2  9.3  10.1  Retired  Yes  10.1  32.8  8.3  20.6  Moved  Yes  1.2  0.7  0.0  1.5  Sold business  Yes  0.0  1.1  2.1  0.7  Reduced hours  Yes  32.7  34.5  44.3  42.8  Other  Uncertain  2.4  2.1  1.0  0.3  Switched from W&S to SE  Uncertain  10.1  6.9  2.1  3.4  Switched from SE to W&S  Uncertain  8.9  10.8  5.2  6.4  Any involuntary reason    26.2  18.0  21.7  17.9  Voluntary reasons only    61.3  75.3  74.2  78.6  Reason unknown    28.5  23.8  35.8  25.2  Note. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aCategories are not mutually exclusive. bResponses not shown due to very low responses include: strike, divorce, distance, and retirement incentives. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 10. Reasons for Leaving Full-Time Career Employment, by Gender, Age-Eligible HRS Core Respondents Who Left Career Employment by 2014 Reasona,b  Voluntary?  Men  Women  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  Business closed  No  11.3%  7.7%  11.3%  8.4%  Laid off  No  13.7  8.5  10.3  7.4  Health reasons  No  1.2  2.6  0.0  3.0  Family care  No  0.0  0.5  1.0  1.7  Better job  Yes  11.3  4.6  11.3  5.4  Quit  Yes  6.6  5.2  9.3  10.1  Retired  Yes  10.1  32.8  8.3  20.6  Moved  Yes  1.2  0.7  0.0  1.5  Sold business  Yes  0.0  1.1  2.1  0.7  Reduced hours  Yes  32.7  34.5  44.3  42.8  Other  Uncertain  2.4  2.1  1.0  0.3  Switched from W&S to SE  Uncertain  10.1  6.9  2.1  3.4  Switched from SE to W&S  Uncertain  8.9  10.8  5.2  6.4  Any involuntary reason    26.2  18.0  21.7  17.9  Voluntary reasons only    61.3  75.3  74.2  78.6  Reason unknown    28.5  23.8  35.8  25.2  Reasona,b  Voluntary?  Men  Women  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Time  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Time  Business closed  No  11.3%  7.7%  11.3%  8.4%  Laid off  No  13.7  8.5  10.3  7.4  Health reasons  No  1.2  2.6  0.0  3.0  Family care  No  0.0  0.5  1.0  1.7  Better job  Yes  11.3  4.6  11.3  5.4  Quit  Yes  6.6  5.2  9.3  10.1  Retired  Yes  10.1  32.8  8.3  20.6  Moved  Yes  1.2  0.7  0.0  1.5  Sold business  Yes  0.0  1.1  2.1  0.7  Reduced hours  Yes  32.7  34.5  44.3  42.8  Other  Uncertain  2.4  2.1  1.0  0.3  Switched from W&S to SE  Uncertain  10.1  6.9  2.1  3.4  Switched from SE to W&S  Uncertain  8.9  10.8  5.2  6.4  Any involuntary reason    26.2  18.0  21.7  17.9  Voluntary reasons only    61.3  75.3  74.2  78.6  Reason unknown    28.5  23.8  35.8  25.2  Note. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aCategories are not mutually exclusive. bResponses not shown due to very low responses include: strike, divorce, distance, and retirement incentives. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Economic and Demographic Characteristics by Type of Transition Another way to examine the extent to which job transitions are retirement transitions is to compare the demographic and economic characteristics of these respondents with: (a) those who did change occupations or switched to part-time status; (b) those who were last observed working on a FTC job; and (c) those who exited the labor force directly from their career job. Not surprisingly, respondents who changed jobs were as a whole younger than those who remained working on their FTC job (Tables 1A and 2A). Respondents who took full-time bridge jobs without a change in occupation (column 2) also had self-reported health status similar to other respondents who took bridge jobs (column 3). Their self-reported health status was also better than those who were last observed working on a FTC job (column 1), though the lower health ratings for the latter might be due to the fact that some of them may not have had a follow-up interview because of their poor health status when last observed. Those who did not change occupations or switch to part-time status resembled those who did with respect to their spouse’s employment status and their spouse’s health status, for both men and women. Regardless of the individual’s decision to change occupations or reduce hours, a common thread for all those who change jobs is that about one half have working spouses and at least 8 out of 10 who are married have a spouse in good, very good, or excellent health. Therefore, those who took a full-time bridge job without a change in occupation appear to be more like other workers who took bridge jobs than they do those who remained on their FTC job. Regarding the economic characteristics, about one third of the men who changed jobs and continued to work full time in the same occupation (Table 3A, column 2) were self-employed on their career job, similar to the prevalence among those who changed occupations or switched to part-time status (column 3). The analogous percentages for women (Table 4A, columns 2 and 3) were 19% and 14%. Generally speaking, men who changed jobs but who do not change occupations or reduce hours resembled other workers who changed jobs with respect to occupation on the career job, health insurance status, and pension status. Male workers who stayed full-time in the same occupation had lower levels of wealth before making a transition and were less likely to own a home compared with others who took on a bridge job. Taken as a whole, the economic characteristics of the men who changed jobs but remained full time in the same occupation suggests that their financial situation was less stable than those who moved to different occupations and/or reduced their hours to part time. In contrast to men, the differences in economic characteristics among women for the two groups of bridge job workers were notable with respect to occupation and pension status (Table 4A). Women who changed jobs but not occupations and who remained full time were less likely to be in white-collar, highly skilled careers compared with other women who changed jobs (30% compared with 37%), and were more likely to not have a pension on their career job (48% compared with 41%). One similarity with the men, however, is that women who switched jobs but remained working full time in the same occupation had lower levels of wealth and were less likely to own a home compared with those who changed occupations or switched to part-time status. Multivariate Analysis of Job Transitions We estimate a multinomial logistic regression model of the decision to leave career employment to determine whether the key associations identified in the previous section remain in a multivariate setting. The model consists of a four-way outcome variable, defined as follows: (a) last observed on a FTC job, (b) moved to a bridge job without a change in occupation and with full-time hours, (c) moved to a bridge job with a change in occupation or switch to part-time status, and (d) exited the labor force directly (reference group). The set of explanatory variables consist of the demographic and economic characteristics described in Tables 1A to 4A. The sample consists of age-eligible HRS Core respondents on a FTC job at the time of the first interview in 1992. The first finding of note is that age is a strong determinant of whether a bridge job is taken, with or without a change in occupation (Tables 11 and 12). For example, the probability of women aged 60–61 taking a bridge job with a change in occupation or switch to part-time status was just 60% that of women aged 51–54 at the time of transition. For both men and women, being in fair or poor health, relative to being in good health, reduced the probability of taking a bridge job with a change in occupation or reduction to part-time status, while being in excellent or very good health increased it. Also for both men and women, having a pension on the FTC job, especially a defined-benefit pension, significantly reduced the probability of taking a bridge job, particularly for bridge jobs without a change in occupation or reduction to part-time status. Overall, however, the impact of having a defined-benefit pension plan is not offset by the impact of having both a defined-benefit and a defined-contribution pension plan because few respondents are in the “both” category. Table 11. Relative Risk Ratios From Multinomial Logistic Regression Dependent Variable: Transition From Full-Time Career Job (No Transition, Bridge Job, Direct Exit), Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a Full-Time Career Job at the Time of the First Interview Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job    No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb    Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.936  .736  0.743  .181  0.950  .773   60–61  0.407  .000***  0.170  .000***  0.462  .000***   62 or older  0.947  .783  0.238  .000***  0.882  .491  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.924  .552  1.236  .239  1.243  .063*   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.704  .001***  0.736  .246  0.650  .011**  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.815  .183  1.210  .352  0.796  .115   High school  —  —  —  —  —  —   College  1.257  .181  1.239  .338  1.380  .032**  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.001  .998  0.682  .158  1.094  .601   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.055  .752  0.767  .224  1.026  .868   Blue collar, other  0.866  .425  0.818  .394  0.969  .849  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  1.074  .620  0.453  .000***  0.653  .001***   Defined contribution  1.179  .254  1.118  .559  1.097  .477   Both  0.571  .052*  1.081  .838  0.870  .570   Self employed  2.316  .000***  2.400  .000***  2.207  .000***  Health insurance   Portable  1.042  .808  .952  .831  1.036  .817   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  1.310  .319  1.245  .528  1.893  .009***   Married  1.912  .001***  .974  .921  1.668  .004***  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.732  .028**  1.391  .129  1.078  .563   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  0.601  .009***  1.463  .177  0.775  .172  Spouse working  0.725  .016**  0.993  .970  1.185  .165  Own home  1.230  .213  0.950  .800  1.185  .255  Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job    No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb    Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.936  .736  0.743  .181  0.950  .773   60–61  0.407  .000***  0.170  .000***  0.462  .000***   62 or older  0.947  .783  0.238  .000***  0.882  .491  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.924  .552  1.236  .239  1.243  .063*   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.704  .001***  0.736  .246  0.650  .011**  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.815  .183  1.210  .352  0.796  .115   High school  —  —  —  —  —  —   College  1.257  .181  1.239  .338  1.380  .032**  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.001  .998  0.682  .158  1.094  .601   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.055  .752  0.767  .224  1.026  .868   Blue collar, other  0.866  .425  0.818  .394  0.969  .849  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  1.074  .620  0.453  .000***  0.653  .001***   Defined contribution  1.179  .254  1.118  .559  1.097  .477   Both  0.571  .052*  1.081  .838  0.870  .570   Self employed  2.316  .000***  2.400  .000***  2.207  .000***  Health insurance   Portable  1.042  .808  .952  .831  1.036  .817   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  1.310  .319  1.245  .528  1.893  .009***   Married  1.912  .001***  .974  .921  1.668  .004***  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.732  .028**  1.391  .129  1.078  .563   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  0.601  .009***  1.463  .177  0.775  .172  Spouse working  0.725  .016**  0.993  .970  1.185  .165  Own home  1.230  .213  0.950  .800  1.185  .255  Note. *, **, *** denote statistical significance at the 10-percent, 5-percent, and 1-percent level, respectively. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aThe following controls (not shown) are also included in the regression: ethnicity, presence of dependent child, wage, wage squared, wealth, wealth squared, and region. The pseudo R-squared for the model is .0740. bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on data from the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 11. Relative Risk Ratios From Multinomial Logistic Regression Dependent Variable: Transition From Full-Time Career Job (No Transition, Bridge Job, Direct Exit), Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a Full-Time Career Job at the Time of the First Interview Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job    No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb    Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.936  .736  0.743  .181  0.950  .773   60–61  0.407  .000***  0.170  .000***  0.462  .000***   62 or older  0.947  .783  0.238  .000***  0.882  .491  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.924  .552  1.236  .239  1.243  .063*   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.704  .001***  0.736  .246  0.650  .011**  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.815  .183  1.210  .352  0.796  .115   High school  —  —  —  —  —  —   College  1.257  .181  1.239  .338  1.380  .032**  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.001  .998  0.682  .158  1.094  .601   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.055  .752  0.767  .224  1.026  .868   Blue collar, other  0.866  .425  0.818  .394  0.969  .849  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  1.074  .620  0.453  .000***  0.653  .001***   Defined contribution  1.179  .254  1.118  .559  1.097  .477   Both  0.571  .052*  1.081  .838  0.870  .570   Self employed  2.316  .000***  2.400  .000***  2.207  .000***  Health insurance   Portable  1.042  .808  .952  .831  1.036  .817   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  1.310  .319  1.245  .528  1.893  .009***   Married  1.912  .001***  .974  .921  1.668  .004***  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.732  .028**  1.391  .129  1.078  .563   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  0.601  .009***  1.463  .177  0.775  .172  Spouse working  0.725  .016**  0.993  .970  1.185  .165  Own home  1.230  .213  0.950  .800  1.185  .255  Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job    No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb    Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.936  .736  0.743  .181  0.950  .773   60–61  0.407  .000***  0.170  .000***  0.462  .000***   62 or older  0.947  .783  0.238  .000***  0.882  .491  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.924  .552  1.236  .239  1.243  .063*   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.704  .001***  0.736  .246  0.650  .011**  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.815  .183  1.210  .352  0.796  .115   High school  —  —  —  —  —  —   College  1.257  .181  1.239  .338  1.380  .032**  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.001  .998  0.682  .158  1.094  .601   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.055  .752  0.767  .224  1.026  .868   Blue collar, other  0.866  .425  0.818  .394  0.969  .849  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  1.074  .620  0.453  .000***  0.653  .001***   Defined contribution  1.179  .254  1.118  .559  1.097  .477   Both  0.571  .052*  1.081  .838  0.870  .570   Self employed  2.316  .000***  2.400  .000***  2.207  .000***  Health insurance   Portable  1.042  .808  .952  .831  1.036  .817   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  1.310  .319  1.245  .528  1.893  .009***   Married  1.912  .001***  .974  .921  1.668  .004***  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.732  .028**  1.391  .129  1.078  .563   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  0.601  .009***  1.463  .177  0.775  .172  Spouse working  0.725  .016**  0.993  .970  1.185  .165  Own home  1.230  .213  0.950  .800  1.185  .255  Note. *, **, *** denote statistical significance at the 10-percent, 5-percent, and 1-percent level, respectively. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aThe following controls (not shown) are also included in the regression: ethnicity, presence of dependent child, wage, wage squared, wealth, wealth squared, and region. The pseudo R-squared for the model is .0740. bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on data from the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 12. Relative Risk Ratios from Multinomial Logistic Regression Dependent Variable: Transition From Full-Time Career Job (No Transition, Bridge Job, Direct Exit), Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a Full-Time Career Job at the Time of the First Interview Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/ or Switch to Part Timeb  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.994  .979  1.081  .779  0.688  .052*   60–61  0.697  .166  0.355  .004***  0.594  .014**   62 or older  1.105  .673  0.432  .011**  0.593  .011**  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.943  .726  1.358  .159  1.207  .174   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.603  .016**  0.424  .026**  0.724  .094*  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.831  .361  0.687  .201  0.685  .038**   high school  —  —  —  —  —  —   college  1.285  .270  1.999  .022**  1.795  .001***  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.480  .041**  1.304  .336  0.911  .575   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.332  .331  0.989  .981  1.390  .183   Blue collar, other  1.242  .371  1.149  .684  0.906  .637  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  0.911  .583  0.377  .000***  0.429  .000***   Defined contribution  0.981  .908  0.457  .002***  0.747  .055*   Both  0.386  .125  5.222  .001***  1.542  .243   Self employed  1.708  .046**  1.848  .053*  1.325  .233  Health insurance   Portable  1.419  .074*  0.799  .363  1.021  .895   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  0.965  .910  0.696  .356  1.155  .581   Married  1.241  .346  1.118  .716  1.022  .908  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.774  .245  0.926  .784  1.036  .845   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.173  .541  1.181  .645  0.987  .956  Spouse working  0.674  .051*  1.152  .606  0.923  .633  Own home  0.875  .449  1.141  .606  1.237  .181  Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/ or Switch to Part Timeb  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.994  .979  1.081  .779  0.688  .052*   60–61  0.697  .166  0.355  .004***  0.594  .014**   62 or older  1.105  .673  0.432  .011**  0.593  .011**  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.943  .726  1.358  .159  1.207  .174   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.603  .016**  0.424  .026**  0.724  .094*  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.831  .361  0.687  .201  0.685  .038**   high school  —  —  —  —  —  —   college  1.285  .270  1.999  .022**  1.795  .001***  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.480  .041**  1.304  .336  0.911  .575   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.332  .331  0.989  .981  1.390  .183   Blue collar, other  1.242  .371  1.149  .684  0.906  .637  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  0.911  .583  0.377  .000***  0.429  .000***   Defined contribution  0.981  .908  0.457  .002***  0.747  .055*   Both  0.386  .125  5.222  .001***  1.542  .243   Self employed  1.708  .046**  1.848  .053*  1.325  .233  Health insurance   Portable  1.419  .074*  0.799  .363  1.021  .895   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  0.965  .910  0.696  .356  1.155  .581   Married  1.241  .346  1.118  .716  1.022  .908  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.774  .245  0.926  .784  1.036  .845   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.173  .541  1.181  .645  0.987  .956  Spouse working  0.674  .051*  1.152  .606  0.923  .633  Own home  0.875  .449  1.141  .606  1.237  .181  Note. *, **, *** denote statistical significance at the 10-percent, 5-percent, and 1-percent level, respectively. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aThe following controls (not shown) are also included in the regression: ethnicity, presence of dependent child, wage, wage squared, wealth, wealth squared, and region. The pseudo R-squared for the model is .0681. bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on data from the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Table 12. Relative Risk Ratios from Multinomial Logistic Regression Dependent Variable: Transition From Full-Time Career Job (No Transition, Bridge Job, Direct Exit), Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a Full-Time Career Job at the Time of the First Interview Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/ or Switch to Part Timeb  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.994  .979  1.081  .779  0.688  .052*   60–61  0.697  .166  0.355  .004***  0.594  .014**   62 or older  1.105  .673  0.432  .011**  0.593  .011**  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.943  .726  1.358  .159  1.207  .174   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.603  .016**  0.424  .026**  0.724  .094*  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.831  .361  0.687  .201  0.685  .038**   high school  —  —  —  —  —  —   college  1.285  .270  1.999  .022**  1.795  .001***  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.480  .041**  1.304  .336  0.911  .575   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.332  .331  0.989  .981  1.390  .183   Blue collar, other  1.242  .371  1.149  .684  0.906  .637  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  0.911  .583  0.377  .000***  0.429  .000***   Defined contribution  0.981  .908  0.457  .002***  0.747  .055*   Both  0.386  .125  5.222  .001***  1.542  .243   Self employed  1.708  .046**  1.848  .053*  1.325  .233  Health insurance   Portable  1.419  .074*  0.799  .363  1.021  .895   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  0.965  .910  0.696  .356  1.155  .581   Married  1.241  .346  1.118  .716  1.022  .908  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.774  .245  0.926  .784  1.036  .845   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.173  .541  1.181  .645  0.987  .956  Spouse working  0.674  .051*  1.152  .606  0.923  .633  Own home  0.875  .449  1.141  .606  1.237  .181  Characteristica  Full-Time Career Job  Bridge Job  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/ or Switch to Part Timeb  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Relative Risk  p-Value  Age   51–54  —  —  —  —  —  —   55–59  0.994  .979  1.081  .779  0.688  .052*   60–61  0.697  .166  0.355  .004***  0.594  .014**   62 or older  1.105  .673  0.432  .011**  0.593  .011**  Health status   Excellent or very good  0.943  .726  1.358  .159  1.207  .174   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.603  .016**  0.424  .026**  0.724  .094*  Educational attainment   Less than high school  0.831  .361  0.687  .201  0.685  .038**   high school  —  —  —  —  —  —   college  1.285  .270  1.999  .022**  1.795  .001***  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  —  —  —  —  —  —   White collar, other  1.480  .041**  1.304  .336  0.911  .575   Blue collar, highly skilled  1.332  .331  0.989  .981  1.390  .183   Blue collar, other  1.242  .371  1.149  .684  0.906  .637  Pension status   No pension  —  —  —  —  —  —   Defined benefit  0.911  .583  0.377  .000***  0.429  .000***   Defined contribution  0.981  .908  0.457  .002***  0.747  .055*   Both  0.386  .125  5.222  .001***  1.542  .243   Self employed  1.708  .046**  1.848  .053*  1.325  .233  Health insurance   Portable  1.419  .074*  0.799  .363  1.021  .895   Not portable  —  —  —  —  —  —   None  0.965  .910  0.696  .356  1.155  .581   Married  1.241  .346  1.118  .716  1.022  .908  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  0.774  .245  0.926  .784  1.036  .845   Good  —  —  —  —  —  —   Fair or poor  1.173  .541  1.181  .645  0.987  .956  Spouse working  0.674  .051*  1.152  .606  0.923  .633  Own home  0.875  .449  1.141  .606  1.237  .181  Note. *, **, *** denote statistical significance at the 10-percent, 5-percent, and 1-percent level, respectively. HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aThe following controls (not shown) are also included in the regression: ethnicity, presence of dependent child, wage, wage squared, wealth, wealth squared, and region. The pseudo R-squared for the model is .0681. bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on data from the Health and Retirement Study. View Large The results of the multivariate analysis suggests that several key determinants of retirement transitions, such as age, health status, pension status, and self-employment status are strong predictors of bridge job transitions, regardless of occupational status changes, but that other determinants, such as educational attainment and health insurance status (men only), are: (a) predictors of making a bridge job transition that have a change in occupation or switch to part-time status, and (b) not particularly strong predictors of making a bridge job transition without a change in occupation and switch to part-time status. While the lack of significance among the latter group is likely influenced by its relatively small sample size, the results indicate that there is no clear cut, straightforward way to distinguish the group of career workers who change jobs later in life but who do not change occupations and who remain working full time. Some may be changing jobs as a first step toward a retirement transition while others are continuing career employment, albeit with a different employer. What is clear, however, is that the large majority of bridge job workers—around 80%—experienced either a change in occupation or a switch to part-time status following career employment. For these workers, job changes later in life do indeed appear to be transitions to retirement. DISCUSSION One criticism of the bridge job literature, and the retirement transition literature more generally, is that it might be misleading to portray all job changes following career employment as retirement-transition steps. Rather, some job changes among older workers might simply reflect the decisions in a dynamic labor force in which individuals change jobs frequently over the course of their lifetime. This view implies that some of the transitions that are characterized as bridges to retirement might just be extensions of career employment, albeit with a different employer. One such example is that of a college professor who changes institutions later in life but remains a full-time academic. This type of job change later in life is not a bridge to retirement, but rather an extension of the professor’s teaching and research career. This article attempts to address this issue. Data from the HRS from 1992 through 2014 reveal that, among those respondents who were on a career job at the time of the first interview and who later changed jobs, 48% of the men and 39% of the women also changed occupations, using two-digit occupation codes. Further, about 8 out of 10 career workers either moved to a job in a different occupation or switched to part-time status following career employment. Frequent occupational changes occurred for both white-collar and blue-collar workers, a sign that retirement transitions, as opposed to abrupt exits, were not specific to any particular group. Finally, the remaining one fifth of career workers who changed jobs later in life but who remained working full time and did not change occupation, as a whole, resemble other career workers who made a job transition later in life, rather than those who remained working on their careers. Our findings regarding the prevalence of job transitions later in life are very much in line with the existing literature across disciplines. Over the past two decades, a wide body of evidence has documented the dynamic ways in which older Americans have exited the labor force, and the economics, social, and psychological outcomes associated with these retirement transitions. Abrupt, one-time, permanent exits from the labor force—“traditional” retirements—do not accurately represent how the majority of older Americans retire today, and have not for at least two decades. The findings presented in this article are consistent with this narrative. The findings from this article are also consistent with studies on the importance of “recareering” later in life. Further, this study expands the state of knowledge by examining the particular types of transitions older Americans make, using objective criteria only, and assessing the degree to which these job changes later in life are truly transitions to retirement. What we find is that the types of job changes that older Americans make are dynamic and diverse. One implication of this finding is that, from a policy standpoint, the importance of bridge employment is by and large not overstated. For the majority of older Americans, job changes later in life are not merely extensions of career employment; rather these changes are indeed transitions to retirement. A key aspect of our analysis is that it relies on objective criteria. Retirement is defined as complete labor force withdrawal (i.e., being out of the labor force) as opposed to being defined by the respondent’s own perspective as to whether she is retired. This approach is notable because the diversity of the retirement pathways documented in this article would almost certainly be enhanced with the inclusion of subjective assessments. Importantly, the use of objective assessments has both positives and negatives. One benefit of using an objective definition is that doing so avoids the ambiguity and intertemporal variation that are sometimes associated with self-assessments. For example, we find that about 10% of those working full time in bridge employment characterized themselves as being retired. Individuals with similar work trajectories, therefore, are characterizing their experiences quite differently. The use of objective assessments alone, however, has important limitations. One limitation is the degree to which observed occupational changes reflect an older worker’s search for a better job or an older worker’s preference for a new career in a different line of work, both of which might have little to do with retirement. With the prospect of 20 years of life expectancy at age 65, it is certainly conceivable that an older individual could elect to change jobs in their 50s with the intention of embarking on a new career. Longitudinal analyses with relatively long time horizons can capture some of these individuals, as tenure on these later-in-life career changes would be known. But for relatively younger cohorts eventual tenure is not known and subjective information about an individual’s expectations and intentions would be needed to assess whether these changes are retirement transitions or the start of a new career. Subjective assessments could also shed light on the extent to which older cohorts make transitions away from career employment to short-term jobs, simply because they want a different or better job independent of whether retirement is on the horizon. Subjective assessments could be used to better understand the implications of the Great Recession as well, and the degree to which older Americans were “forced” from career employment. We find that approximately one quarter of those who moved to full-time bridge jobs did so involuntarily. One interpretation of this finding is that an involuntary switch may be an exogenous nudge toward retirement rather than an extension of one’s career. This interpretation, along with the fact that many of these workers reduced the number of hours worked, would further increase the percentage of respondents with bridge jobs who are beginning a gradual exit from the labor force. The use of subjective assessments could shed light on this topic, as could assessments that combine both subjective and objective criteria, and qualitative analyses generally. Another limitation of this study is the degree to which attrition impacted the retirement transitions we observed. Among those respondents who did not participate in the 2014 survey, more than 40% were last observed on their career job. It is possible that these individuals could have retired differently from those for whom retirement transitions are known. Existing studies have shown, for example, that those who leave their career jobs later in life are somewhat less likely to transition to a bridge job (Cahill et al., 2015a). The magnitude of these differences is not particularly large, however, which suggests that any truncation issues regarding retirement transition types are unlikely to meaningfully change our conclusions. A third limitation is that our analysis also focuses on career workers only. Prior research suggests that noncareer workers also change jobs later in life with a frequency that resembles that of career workers (Cahill, Giandrea, & Quinn, 2012). It could be the case, however, that despite similar frequencies of job changes occupational changes could be more or less prevalent among noncareer workers. If occupational changes are less prevalent among noncareer workers, it is conceivable that their job changes later in life might just be extensions of their previous job(s) and not be associated with retirement transitions. This topic could be a fruitful area for further research. Another area for further research is to explore the retirement outcomes of those who changed occupations later in life. Financial security later in life, in particular, is a key theme in the recent economics retirement literature. Interactions between demographic changes, the evolution of retirement income sources, and macroeconomic vulnerability have all left older Americans more exposed to market forces at a time when markets are volatile. Policymakers stand to benefit greatly from research that improves our understanding of how occupational changes help alleviate—or exacerbate—these impacts. Policymakers, and future cohorts, also stand to benefit from more research on which occupational changes are most beneficial to older workers. At the individual level, only one gets to observe the pathway chosen and its associated outcome. One large benefit of the HRS, with its large sample sizes and longitudinal design, is that researchers can observe not only the plethora of pathways out of the labor force, but also the outcomes of each pathway. Patterns might exist in these data with respect to the types of occupational changes that are welfare improving and, perhaps more importantly, the types that are not. If some pathways are clearly detrimental to the welfare of older Americans, policymakers can work to create incentives or educate the public about such pitfalls, and perhaps help ensure the retirement income security of these older Americans. Finally, a clear avenue for further research is to conduct an analysis of occupational changes for younger cohorts of retirees in the HRS, as well as for older workers in other countries, using datasets such as ELSA and SHARE. The analyses conducted for this article pertain solely to the first cohort of HRS respondents whose first interview took place in 1992. Additional cohorts have been added every 6 years, including the War Babies in 1998, the Early Boomers in 2004, the Mid-Boomers in 2010, and the Late-Boomers in 2016. While sufficient follow-up periods are not yet available for the Mid-Boomers and Late-Boomers, an analysis of the War Babies and the Early Boomers is possible. Research to date suggests that the retirement patterns of the younger HRS cohorts resemble those of the HRS Core, but these findings pertain to the prevalence of retirement transitions, and are not specific to the occupational changes identified in this article. At the beginning of this article, we noted that the definition of bridge employment varies across disciplines, and does so for good reasons. The research context matters and, therefore, it is not surprising to see researchers in the fields of economics, psychology, and sociology taking different approaches to address different research questions. In this study, we focus on an objective assessment of bridge job prevalence and use a definition of bridge employment that is consistent with the “noncareer bridge employment” described by Alcover and colleagues (2014). Importantly, even when relying on purely objective measures the evidence suggests that bridge job transitions are by and large associated with retirement. CONCLUSION One well-documented finding from the retirement literature is that between one half and two thirds of older Americans with career jobs transition to a new job (a “bridge” job) before exiting the labor force. Labeling all of these departures from career jobs to other jobs later in life as transition stages en route to retirement results in an overstatement of the bridge job phenomenon, as at least some portion of these transitions are simply extensions of career employment, having little to do with retirement transitions per se. We find that 48% of men and 39% of women who transitioned to bridge jobs also changed occupations, and that 8 out of 10 either changed occupations, switched to part-time work, or both. Bridge jobs do not appear to be just another job change over the course of one’s work-life, and we therefore conclude that bridge job activity is at most modestly overstated in the literature. Further, when bridge job prevalence is combined with other forms of gradual retirement, such as phased retirement—a reduction in hours in career employment—it is clear that retirement is indeed a transition, not a one-time event, for the majority of older Americans. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS All views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This work was supported by the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Cross-Council Programme (LLHW). The LLHW Funding Partners for this award are the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council (ES/L002884/1). Appendix Table 1. Demographic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Age   <55  19  31  19  14   56–61  42  50  46  55   62–64  16  12  21  19   65+  24  7  14  11  Own health status   Excellent or very good  42  58  59  49   Good  31  29  30  33   Fair or poor  28  13  11  18  Less than college degree  77  74  73  79  College degree  23  26  27  21  Married  86  88  90  87  Not married  14  12  10  13  Dependent children  14  13  17  16  No dependent children  86  87  83  84  Spouse employed  37  46  52  42  Spouse not employed  63  54  48  58  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  50  60  61  54   Good  31  23  26  28   Fair or poor  19  18  12  18  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Age   <55  19  31  19  14   56–61  42  50  46  55   62–64  16  12  21  19   65+  24  7  14  11  Own health status   Excellent or very good  42  58  59  49   Good  31  29  30  33   Fair or poor  28  13  11  18  Less than college degree  77  74  73  79  College degree  23  26  27  21  Married  86  88  90  87  Not married  14  12  10  13  Dependent children  14  13  17  16  No dependent children  86  87  83  84  Spouse employed  37  46  52  42  Spouse not employed  63  54  48  58  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  50  60  61  54   Good  31  23  26  28   Fair or poor  19  18  12  18  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Appendix Table 1. Demographic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Age   <55  19  31  19  14   56–61  42  50  46  55   62–64  16  12  21  19   65+  24  7  14  11  Own health status   Excellent or very good  42  58  59  49   Good  31  29  30  33   Fair or poor  28  13  11  18  Less than college degree  77  74  73  79  College degree  23  26  27  21  Married  86  88  90  87  Not married  14  12  10  13  Dependent children  14  13  17  16  No dependent children  86  87  83  84  Spouse employed  37  46  52  42  Spouse not employed  63  54  48  58  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  50  60  61  54   Good  31  23  26  28   Fair or poor  19  18  12  18  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Age   <55  19  31  19  14   56–61  42  50  46  55   62–64  16  12  21  19   65+  24  7  14  11  Own health status   Excellent or very good  42  58  59  49   Good  31  29  30  33   Fair or poor  28  13  11  18  Less than college degree  77  74  73  79  College degree  23  26  27  21  Married  86  88  90  87  Not married  14  12  10  13  Dependent children  14  13  17  16  No dependent children  86  87  83  84  Spouse employed  37  46  52  42  Spouse not employed  63  54  48  58  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  50  60  61  54   Good  31  23  26  28   Fair or poor  19  18  12  18  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Appendix Table 2. Demographic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Age   <55  20  28  25  17   56–61  44  54  49  54   62–64  12  10  18  19   65+  24  7  8  10  Own health status   Excellent or very good  41  61  58  51   Good  31  32  31  32   Fair or poor  28  7  12  18  Less than college degree  85  76  77  82  College degree  15  24  23  18  Married  63  68  53  66  Not married  37  32  37  34  Dependent children  31  27  32  27  No dependent children  69  73  68  73  Spouse employed  25  40  37  35  Spouse not employed  75  60  63  65  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  41  50  53  50   Good  27  30  30  31   Fair or poor  32  20  17  19  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Age   <55  20  28  25  17   56–61  44  54  49  54   62–64  12  10  18  19   65+  24  7  8  10  Own health status   Excellent or very good  41  61  58  51   Good  31  32  31  32   Fair or poor  28  7  12  18  Less than college degree  85  76  77  82  College degree  15  24  23  18  Married  63  68  53  66  Not married  37  32  37  34  Dependent children  31  27  32  27  No dependent children  69  73  68  73  Spouse employed  25  40  37  35  Spouse not employed  75  60  63  65  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  41  50  53  50   Good  27  30  30  31   Fair or poor  32  20  17  19  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Appendix Table 2. Demographic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Age   <55  20  28  25  17   56–61  44  54  49  54   62–64  12  10  18  19   65+  24  7  8  10  Own health status   Excellent or very good  41  61  58  51   Good  31  32  31  32   Fair or poor  28  7  12  18  Less than college degree  85  76  77  82  College degree  15  24  23  18  Married  63  68  53  66  Not married  37  32  37  34  Dependent children  31  27  32  27  No dependent children  69  73  68  73  Spouse employed  25  40  37  35  Spouse not employed  75  60  63  65  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  41  50  53  50   Good  27  30  30  31   Fair or poor  32  20  17  19  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Age   <55  20  28  25  17   56–61  44  54  49  54   62–64  12  10  18  19   65+  24  7  8  10  Own health status   Excellent or very good  41  61  58  51   Good  31  32  31  32   Fair or poor  28  7  12  18  Less than college degree  85  76  77  82  College degree  15  24  23  18  Married  63  68  53  66  Not married  37  32  37  34  Dependent children  31  27  32  27  No dependent children  69  73  68  73  Spouse employed  25  40  37  35  Spouse not employed  75  60  63  65  Spouse’s health status   Excellent or very good  41  50  53  50   Good  27  30  30  31   Fair or poor  32  20  17  19  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Appendix Table 3. Economic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Wage and salary  74  69  70  88  Self-employed  26  31  30  12  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  34  40  38  31   White collar, other  13  11  15  13   Blue collar, highly skilled  30  26  26  28   Blue collar, other  23  23  20  28  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  10  12  12  6   Covered and would maintain coverage  77  69  76  79   Covered and would lose coverage  13  18  12  15  Pension status   No pension  38  42  41  24   Defined contribution only  18  29  23  22   Defined benefit only  40  24  31  48   Defined contribution and defined benefit  4  5  5  7  Wage rate   <$10/hr  17  18  17  12   $10–$20/hr  42  37  34  36   $20–$50/hr  36  36  43  47   >$50/hr  6  10  7  5  Wealth   <$25,000  37  41  28  34   $25k–$100k  23  20  24  27   $100k–$500k  27  27  34  30   $500k+  12  12  14  9  Own home  75  71  82  76  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Wage and salary  74  69  70  88  Self-employed  26  31  30  12  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  34  40  38  31   White collar, other  13  11  15  13   Blue collar, highly skilled  30  26  26  28   Blue collar, other  23  23  20  28  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  10  12  12  6   Covered and would maintain coverage  77  69  76  79   Covered and would lose coverage  13  18  12  15  Pension status   No pension  38  42  41  24   Defined contribution only  18  29  23  22   Defined benefit only  40  24  31  48   Defined contribution and defined benefit  4  5  5  7  Wage rate   <$10/hr  17  18  17  12   $10–$20/hr  42  37  34  36   $20–$50/hr  36  36  43  47   >$50/hr  6  10  7  5  Wealth   <$25,000  37  41  28  34   $25k–$100k  23  20  24  27   $100k–$500k  27  27  34  30   $500k+  12  12  14  9  Own home  75  71  82  76  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Appendix Table 3. Economic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Men on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Wage and salary  74  69  70  88  Self-employed  26  31  30  12  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  34  40  38  31   White collar, other  13  11  15  13   Blue collar, highly skilled  30  26  26  28   Blue collar, other  23  23  20  28  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  10  12  12  6   Covered and would maintain coverage  77  69  76  79   Covered and would lose coverage  13  18  12  15  Pension status   No pension  38  42  41  24   Defined contribution only  18  29  23  22   Defined benefit only  40  24  31  48   Defined contribution and defined benefit  4  5  5  7  Wage rate   <$10/hr  17  18  17  12   $10–$20/hr  42  37  34  36   $20–$50/hr  36  36  43  47   >$50/hr  6  10  7  5  Wealth   <$25,000  37  41  28  34   $25k–$100k  23  20  24  27   $100k–$500k  27  27  34  30   $500k+  12  12  14  9  Own home  75  71  82  76  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge Job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  24  9  32  35  Wage and salary  74  69  70  88  Self-employed  26  31  30  12  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  34  40  38  31   White collar, other  13  11  15  13   Blue collar, highly skilled  30  26  26  28   Blue collar, other  23  23  20  28  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  10  12  12  6   Covered and would maintain coverage  77  69  76  79   Covered and would lose coverage  13  18  12  15  Pension status   No pension  38  42  41  24   Defined contribution only  18  29  23  22   Defined benefit only  40  24  31  48   Defined contribution and defined benefit  4  5  5  7  Wage rate   <$10/hr  17  18  17  12   $10–$20/hr  42  37  34  36   $20–$50/hr  36  36  43  47   >$50/hr  6  10  7  5  Wealth   <$25,000  37  41  28  34   $25k–$100k  23  20  24  27   $100k–$500k  27  27  34  30   $500k+  12  12  14  9  Own home  75  71  82  76  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Appendix Table 4. Economic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Wage and salary  89  81  86  94  Self-employed  11  19  14  6  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  27  30  37  32   White collar, other  39  41  33  38   Blue collar, highly skilled  9  7  11  8   Blue collar, other  25  22  20  22  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  7  9  10  7   Covered and would maintain coverage  76  70  72  73   Covered and would lose coverage  17  21  17  19  Pension status   No pension  31  48  41  22   Defined contribution only  26  19  26  28   Defined benefit only  42  28  31  47   Defined contribution and defined benefit  1  5  3  4  Wage rate   <$10/hr  35  32  30  21   $10–$20/hr  46  45  45  51   $20–$50/hr  18  19  24  27   >$50/hr  1  5  1  1  Wealth   <$25,000  52  47  40  40   $25k–$100k  20  20  24  25   $100k–$500k  23  26  28  28   $500k+  6  7  8  7  Own home  68  74  80  76  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Wage and salary  89  81  86  94  Self-employed  11  19  14  6  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  27  30  37  32   White collar, other  39  41  33  38   Blue collar, highly skilled  9  7  11  8   Blue collar, other  25  22  20  22  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  7  9  10  7   Covered and would maintain coverage  76  70  72  73   Covered and would lose coverage  17  21  17  19  Pension status   No pension  31  48  41  22   Defined contribution only  26  19  26  28   Defined benefit only  42  28  31  47   Defined contribution and defined benefit  1  5  3  4  Wage rate   <$10/hr  35  32  30  21   $10–$20/hr  46  45  45  51   $20–$50/hr  18  19  24  27   >$50/hr  1  5  1  1  Wealth   <$25,000  52  47  40  40   $25k–$100k  20  20  24  25   $100k–$500k  23  26  28  28   $500k+  6  7  8  7  Own home  68  74  80  76  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large Appendix Table 4. Economic Characteristics in the Wave Before Transition by First Transition from FTC Employmenta Sample: Age-Eligible HRS Core Women on a FTC Job in 1992 Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Wage and salary  89  81  86  94  Self-employed  11  19  14  6  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  27  30  37  32   White collar, other  39  41  33  38   Blue collar, highly skilled  9  7  11  8   Blue collar, other  25  22  20  22  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  7  9  10  7   Covered and would maintain coverage  76  70  72  73   Covered and would lose coverage  17  21  17  19  Pension status   No pension  31  48  41  22   Defined contribution only  26  19  26  28   Defined benefit only  42  28  31  47   Defined contribution and defined benefit  1  5  3  4  Wage rate   <$10/hr  35  32  30  21   $10–$20/hr  46  45  45  51   $20–$50/hr  18  19  24  27   >$50/hr  1  5  1  1  Wealth   <$25,000  52  47  40  40   $25k–$100k  20  20  24  25   $100k–$500k  23  26  28  28   $500k+  6  7  8  7  Own home  68  74  80  76  Characteristic  Still on FTC Job (%)  Bridge job (%)  Direct Exit (%)  No Change in Occupation and Remained Full Timeb  Change in Occupation and/or Switch to Part Timeb  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  Overall  20  9  32  40  Wage and salary  89  81  86  94  Self-employed  11  19  14  6  Occupation   White collar, highly skilled  27  30  37  32   White collar, other  39  41  33  38   Blue collar, highly skilled  9  7  11  8   Blue collar, other  25  22  20  22  Health insurance status   Not covered on career job  7  9  10  7   Covered and would maintain coverage  76  70  72  73   Covered and would lose coverage  17  21  17  19  Pension status   No pension  31  48  41  22   Defined contribution only  26  19  26  28   Defined benefit only  42  28  31  47   Defined contribution and defined benefit  1  5  3  4  Wage rate   <$10/hr  35  32  30  21   $10–$20/hr  46  45  45  51   $20–$50/hr  18  19  24  27   >$50/hr  1  5  1  1  Wealth   <$25,000  52  47  40  40   $25k–$100k  20  20  24  25   $100k–$500k  23  26  28  28   $500k+  6  7  8  7  Own home  68  74  80  76  Note. FTC = full-time career; HRS = Health and Retirement Study. aStatus before transition for respondents last observed on a FTC job is measured as of the most recent wave of data available (e.g., Wave 12 (2014) for respondents on a FTC job in Wave 12). bBased on all bridge jobs if multiple bridge jobs are observed. Source. Authors’ calculations based on the Health and Retirement Study. View Large REFERENCES Alcover, C., Topa, G., Parry, E., Fraccaroli, F., & Depolo, M. (Eds.). ( 2014). Bridge employment: A research handbook . New York: Routledge. Beehr, T. A., & Bennett, M. M. ( 2015). Working after retirement: Features of bridge employment and research directions. Work, Aging and Retirement , 1, 112– 128. doi: 10.1093/workar/wau007 Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Cahill, K. E., Giandrea, M. D., & Quinn, J. F. ( 2006). Retirement patterns from career employment. The Gerontologist , 46, 514– 523. doi:10.1093/geront/46.4.514 Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed  Cahill, K. 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Is Bridge Job Activity Overstated?