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Journal Article

Leaving the labor market: exit routes, personality traits and well-being


Publication date

30 Mar 2022


In this paper we examine the buffering effects of personality traits when people leave their work in later life. Using large-scale panel data for the UK, we show that depending on the exit route and satisfaction related to overall life and the domains of income and leisure, different personality traits act as moderators. Besides augmenting leisure satisfaction for those who hit mandatory retirement, conscientiousness augments life satisfaction for those becoming unemployed. On the contrary, extraversion mitigates satisfaction with life, income, and leisure for those who retire early. This may be an indication that extraverted individuals who tend to be sociable and outgoing may suffer when losing social relationships from their work. At the same time, extraversion may be helpful in augmenting leisure satisfaction for those who stop working for reasons related to ill health or family care. Neuroticism augments income satisfaction for those who become unemployed, which may reflect that people high in neuroticism had a lower “baseline level” of income satisfaction relative to typical individuals so they were not affected as much. Finally, agreeableness mitigates life and leisure satisfaction for those hitting mandatory retirement, as is also the case with openness in terms of income satisfaction.

Published in








Older People, Social Networks, Psychology, Labour Market, Well Being, Life Course Analysis, and Social Behaviour


Open Access; © 2022 Kesavayuth et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.; Covered by over 40 media outlets

Related publications

  1. Leaving the labor market: exit routes, personality traits and well-being

    Dusanee Kesavayuth, Robert E. Rosenman, and Vasileios Zikos

    1. Older People
    2. Social Networks
    3. Psychology
    4. Labour Market
    5. Well Being
    6. Life Course Analysis
    7. Social Behaviour


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