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From School to Career: Towards A Career Perspective on the Labor Market Returns to Education

Objective

Technological changes and the automation of occupational tasks present societies with a challenge: Is it still sensible to provide students with occupation-specific (vocational) education? Or are students with general educational qualifications better equipped for the future, given that what is demanded in the labor market is under rapid change?
While a large literature has shown that graduates with vocational training have a comparatively smooth transition from school to work, it has exclusively focused on the early career. We do not know how and why labor market outcomes vary over the life course, or how careers are affected by changing labor markets.
CAREER investigates how labor market demands change, and how these changes in the macro context affect individual workers. It takes an innovative career perspective to study how and why labor market returns to vocational and general education vary over the life cycle. Its core hypothesis is that vocational graduates have a late-career disadvantage because their occupation-specific skills hinder labor market mobility, particularly when labor market demands alter quickly.
CAREER is a comparative project, and studies six countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Using computational methods on unique data of millions of historical job vacancy texts, we describe how labor markets are changing. Relying on high quality panel data we map how careers of vocational and general graduates develop in changing labor markets. Using interviews, and factorial experiments we expose the theoretical mechanisms that drive career effects.
By extending the observation window from the early to the full career, CAREER shows how workers with specific or general qualifications perform in rapidly changing labor markets. This will not only enrich our understanding of the link between education and the labor market, it will also inform policy makers on a future-proof education system.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/employment
  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-STG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM
Address
Spui 21
1012WX Amsterdam
Netherlands
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 499 422

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 1 499 422
Address
Spui 21
1012WX Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments