Vertical Social Mobility:
Vertical social mobility refers to the movement of an individual or people or groups from one status to another. It involves change in class, occupation or power positions. It involves a change within the lifetime of an individual to a higher or lower status than the person had to begin with. Example: (i) Movement from the status of plumber to that of a corporation president, or vice versa, is an example of vertical mobility, (ii) Movement of people from the poor class to the middle class, from the occupation of labourers to that of bank clerks, from the position of the opposition to that of the ruling class, etc.
“Horizontal mobility” is a change in position without the change in status. It indicates a change in position within the range of the same .status. It is “movement from one status to its equivalent” [David Popenoe – 244],
(i) A college graduate with a degree in chemistry planned to work in the research department of a large chemical company, but after a year he finds that the work seems dull and repetitive, with no improvement in sight. He quits that job and instead becomes a professor of chemistry at a nearby university. Because the two occupations are at roughly the same level his mobility involved no essential change of status; it was simply a move to a more satisfying job.
(ii) An engineer working in a factory may resign his job and join another factory as an engineer and may work in more or less the same capacity, or join an engineering college and start working as a professor. In this example also, though there is change of workplace and work, the general status of the person does not change much.
Horizontal mobility can cause disruptions in family life and community ties. Some of the recent studies suggest that people are becoming more aware of these disruptions and increasingly resistant to unwanted job changes. Most Indians typically cling on to jobs whenever they get into them. They are normally not prepared to take a risk to change their job.