High mobility… to have a job ?
Social and spatial mobility is a key value of late modern societies. Necessity to move is linked to flexibility needs of the labour force and more generally is supposed to be a necessary condition for career success. Consequently, increasing numbers of persons are practicing spatially “reversible” forms of high spatial mobility, such as daily or weekly long-duration commuting and work-related frequent trips. (Vincent-Geslin & Kaufmann, 2012). This paper examines the link between theses mobilities and employment drawing on mixed methods. Data come from both the European longitudinal survey “Job mobilities and family lives in Europe” (Schneider & Collet, 2010) and qualitative interviews conducted in France among a population of “reversible” job-related mobile persons. Findings show to what extent unemployment risks play a central role on inclination to mobility. While some people limit their willingness to travel or move because of familial circumstances (e.g., arrival of a child, partner changes), others declare themselves ready to move or commute over long durations more than ever – despite low mobility skills and quite low access to rapid transport infrastructures. Another result concerns, in crisis regions, the higher tendency to move compared to commute, as if arbitrage between family life and work life were unbalanced and anchorages reassessed, to ensure an active work life. These results raise new questions about peoples’ adaptation and resignation in long-duration decision making.