The final set of analyses examines the effect of college quality on first entry position and includes only those respondents who attended four-year universities and two-year junior colleges. The college quality variable is constructed on the basis of type of institutions of higher education (two-year junior colleges or four-year universities), and the difficulty of entrance examination. Three categories of college quality for male respondents are: highly competitive four-year universities; competitive four-year universities; and other four-year universities and two-year junior colleges. Because the number of female respondents who attended highly competitive four-year institutions is small, the college quality variable for female respondents has the following three categories: highly competitive universities or competitive four-year universities; other four-year universities; and two-year junior colleges. The distribution of college quality by gender is shown in Tables 9.5.a and 9.5.b.
The pattern of the relationship between college quality and first entry position is very similar to that of the relationship between high-school quality and first entry position. The average occupational status and the entry EGP class position are not significantly different among graduates of differing college quality for men and women. The average occupational status score is 53 points for male graduates and 51 points for female graduates, irrespective of the quality of college attended. Among both male and female graduates, about 42 per cent started as the service class, and about 47 per cent as the routine non-manual class, irrespective of college quality.
The size of the firm in which college graduates were employed, however, is affected by the quality of college attended. As shown in Table 9.7.a, male graduates from highly competitive four-year universities had significantly better chances of starting employment in either large or medium-sized firms as opposed to small firms. Similarly, in Table 9.7b female graduates of highly competitive or competitive four-year universities had better chances of being hired by large firms than by small firms. 13 Therefore, it is the highly competitive institutions which confer a distinctive advantage for labour-market entry.
Educational credentials are a powerful determinant of labour-market entry position. They influence the socio-economic status and social class of first job, and firm size at entry. The effects of educational credentials are most apparent on first occupational status. For both men and women, occupational prestige scores increase more or less linearly with the level of education, with a degree from a four-year university producing particularly large returns.
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Publication information: Book title: From School to Work:A Comparative Study of Educational Qualifications and Occupational Destinations. Contributors: Yossi Shavit - Editor, Walter Müller - Editor, Clare Tame - Editor. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 304.
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