Sociologists have studied occupational prestige for decades, including a landmark national survey in 1965 by Peter Pineo and John Porter. John Goyder updates Pineo and Porter's work, providing a detailed comparison of their results with a similar national scale survey conducted in 2005. The results challenge the accepted view that prestige ratings are constant over time and across societies. Goyder shows that there have been some surprising changes in these ratings: instead of the expected premium on jobs in the knowledge sector, more traditional occupations - such as the skilled trades, even if they require little education or pay a low wage - have gained the most prestige. There has been a significant decrease in consensus about occupational prestige ratings and the tendency for respondents to upgrade the prestige of their own occupation is much more pronounced in the recent data. Goyder argues that these changes are a sign of the shifting nature of values in a meritocratic society in which increasing income inequality is a growing reality.
About the author
John Goyder, a professor of sociology at the ;University of Waterloo, is the author of Essentials of Canadian Society (1990) and The Silent Minority (1987). He collaborated with John Porter, Frank Jones, Peter Pineo, Monica Boyd, and Hugh McRoberts on the National Mobility study, reported in the 1985 book, Ascription and Achievement.