This paper reports an investigation of the effects on occupational achievement of workplace mobility, that is, accepting a job over a longer distance. We extend the classical conceptualisation of the relationship between spatial flexibility and occupational achievement by including not only long-distance migration, but also long-distance commuting as an instrument of career advancement. Using longitudinal data, with job change as the unit of analysis, career advancement is measured directly by comparing the level of the accepted job with the level of the former job. The results show that workplace mobility is indeed instrumental in career advancement. Workers who accept jobs over a longer distance make more career advancement after a job change than workers who accept jobs closer to their residence. Women with a partner form an exception. For them, workplace mobility has no effect on career advancement. A probable explanation is a tied-mover effect. Some women with a partner accept a job over a longer distance for the sake of the career of the male spouse and because the household as a whole migrates. So the conclusion is that for women, workplace mobility is only instrumental in career advancement when a job is accepted over a long distance for their own career. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.