Job exit queues: corporate mergers and gender inequality

Terceira A. Berdahl (Doctoral candidate in the Sociology department at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
Helen A. Moore (Professor of Sociology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Publication date: 1 April 2004


Purpose: to explore the experiences of employees in a local bank merger in the United States and examine the concept of job exit queues. We introduce the concept of a job exit queue, which describes how workers position themselves or are positioned by employers to leave jobs and enter new jobs following the announcement of a corporate merger. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative interviews with mid‐ level managers, technical specialists and low status workers during the sale and merger process were conducted and coded thematically. We explore: (1) how workers and managers describe the job search as an “opportunity” or as a recurring cycle of low‐wage, high‐turnover work and (2) how severance packages structure the job exit queue to meet corporate needs. Findings: The role of severance pay is pivotal in understanding women’s and men’s job relations to job exit queues. We conclude that employers create job exit queues, placing low status workers and mid‐level women managers with less formal education at a disadvantage in reemployment. Value: This paper contributes a new concept “job exit queue” to the research and theory on work place diversity, gender inequality, and queuing theories.



Berdahl, T.A. and Moore, H.A. (2004), "Job exit queues: corporate mergers and gender inequality", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 23 No. 3/4/5, pp. 45-66.

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