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Such work is usually regarded as unskilled and the phrase usually applies to those working as shelf stackers, cleaners, call center agents, clerks, or in other menial jobs where the pay is low, and the hours are long. Furthermore, positions not regarded as menial may nonetheless qualify as dead-end jobs and forms of underemployment. A specialized employee working in a small firm in an underdeveloped local market, for example, might have few opportunities for advancement within the company while simultaneously facing a dearth of opportunities outside it. Most dead-end jobs offer little to no transferable skills and may "trap" workers.[clarification needed][specify]
Dead-end jobs are not limited to menial labor, retail or fast food roles. Professional positions in call centers, loss-mitigation underwriting, administrative and clerical work may offer almost no advancement potential. Another common indicator of a dead-end job is the risk of it being made obsolete by automation.
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- Charles C. Brown (1982), "Dead-end Jobs and Youth Unemployment", in Richard B. Freeman, David A. Wise, The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pp. 427–452, commended here by Ronald G. Ehrenberg
- Helen Connolly, Peter Gottschalk (December 2001). "Stepping Stone Jobs: Theory and Evidence" (PDF).
- Randy Hodson, Teresa A. Sullivan (2012). The Social Organization of Work (5th ed.).
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- Molly Dahl, Thomas DeLeire, Jonathan Schwabish (April 2009). "Stepping Stone or Dead End? The Effect of the EITC on Earnings Growth" (pdf).
- Alison L. Booth, Marco Francesconi, Jeff Frank (October 2000). "Temporary Jobs: Stepping Stones or Dead Ends?".
- Giovanni S. F. Bruno, Floro Ernesto Caroleo, Orietta Dessy (July 2012). "Stepping Stones versus Dead End Jobs: Exits from Temporary Contracts in Italy after the 2003 Reform".
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