Home > O Words > occupation


Definition of Occupation

(noun) Employment, typically for pay; a job.

Occupation Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: oc·cu·pa·tion

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /ahk-yuh-pAY-shuhn/
  • British English – /ok-yu-pAY-shuhn/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˌɑkjəˈpeɪʃ(ə)n/
  • British English – /ˌɒkjᵿˈpeɪʃn/

Usage Note

  • Plural: occupations

Related Quotations

  • [D]iscrimination has been driven underground. Scratching just below the surface, however, reveals a continued pattern of political, occupational, educational, housing, and consumer discrimination” (McNamee and Miller 2013:181).
  • [Randall] Collins points out that credentials often bear little relation to the responsibilities of a specific job, and maintains that degrees serve as a shorthand way to sort out the people with the manners and attitudes sought by many employers. In short, credentialism operates much like family background as a gatekeeping strategy that restricts prestigious occupations to a small segment of the population” (Macionis and Plummer 2012:662).
  • “Sexual harassment is not only an indicator of the continuing dominance of men in the workplace but a form of discrimination that jeopardizes women’s chances for occupational success and impinges upon their pursuit of the American Dream” (McNamee and Miller 2013:199).
  • “Where ethnic groups are racially defined, relations among them tend toward caste. Endogamy within castes is strictly enforced, and interaction between them in intimate social settings such as peer groups, clubs, neighborhoods, and so on are minimized. Subordinate castes are usually exploited occupationally by the dominant group and experience little or no change in their collective social position” (Marger 1985:37).
  • “With the advent of globalization and the increased mobility of professionals and workers of all kinds across national boundaries, the problem of recognizing ‘credentials‘ obtained in other countries has come to the fore. On the one hand, professional organizations and other occupational associations are concerned that the influx of such credentialed individuals may weaken their control over the supply of ‘qualified’ labor; on the other hand, governments are under pressure to recognize such ‘foreign credentials’ by a public that is anxious to alleviate a real or perceived scarcity of professional service providers in such areas as medicine and law” (Smith 2008:166–67).

Additional Information

Related Terms


Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Marger, Martin. 1985. Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Smith, Murray. 2008. “credentialism.” Pp. 166–67 in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2nd ed., edited by W. Darity. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.

Works Consulted

Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Oxford Reference. (N.d.) Oxford Reference. Taylor & Francis. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

Cite the Definition of Occupation

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2017. “occupation.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved April 22, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/occupation/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

occupation. (2017). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/occupation/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2017. “occupation.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed April 22, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/occupation/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“occupation.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2017. Web. 22 Apr. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/occupation/>.