This study investigates employment and occupational mobility in Europe before and after the 2008 financial crisis, with the aim of linking individual-level employment transitions to the broad labour market developments during the crisis, such as the surge in unemployment and the phenomenon of job polarisation. The analysis compares six European countries that represent different institutional clusters – France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK. It tracks the transitions of their working age populations into and out of inactivity, unemployment and employment (in five wage categories). The study seeks to better understand what happened to workers who lost their jobs during the recession, beyond the headline unemployment statistics. Did they find other work and, if so, was it better or worse paid? Were opportunities for upward occupational mobility affected by the crisis? The findings show that the countries studied fall into three distinct categories based on the degree of occupational mobility characterising their economies. An executive summary is available - see Related content.