Transitions from Education to Work in Europe: The Integration of Youth into EU Labour Markets

Transitions from Education to Work in Europe: The Integration of Youth into EU Labour Markets

Transitions from Education to Work in Europe: The Integration of Youth into EU Labour Markets

Transitions from Education to Work in Europe: The Integration of Youth into EU Labour Markets

Synopsis

European unification represents major challenges to national institutional frameworks as well as significant pressures for institutional convergence. So far, labor markets have actually seen relatively little convergence, and national institutions have remained highly distinct. Against this background, the book provides an encompassing comparative analysis of school-to-work transitions in EU member states. It shows how differences in both European education and training systems, as well as labour market institutions, generated significant variation in the experiences of young people entering European labour markets during the 1990s. This book compiles an integrated series of comparative empirical analyses of education-to-work transitions across the EU by drawing on the European Labour Force Surveys. Individual chapters describe the educational background of young people entering the labor market, address the scope of educational expansion in recent decades, and chart basic structures of transition processes in European labor markets. Chapters not only examine the role of education for successful labor market integration, but also the impact of macroeconomic, structural, and institutional factors on young people's chances of avoiding unemployment and attaining employment in occupations appropriate to their education and training. From these analyses it becomes apparent that the structure of education and training systems is the key institutional factor behind successful youth labour market integration. At the level of intermediate skills, dual systems of training have retained their advantages in terms of reduced youth unemployment. High levels of education still constitute a key asset, for, despite significant educational expansion in recent decades, devaluation trends have been limited. As youth labor markets are found to be particularly responsive to macroeconomic conditions, however, macroeconomic stability turns out to be an equally important predicament to successful youth labour market integration, in particular among those with low levels of education.

Excerpt

This book is a result of collaborative research efforts in the project 'A Comparative Analysis of Transitions from Education to Work in Europe' (CATEWE) that has been supported within the European Commission's Targeted Socio-Economic Research (TSER) programme. During the course of this project, we had the opportunity of studying the processes of transition from school to work in Europe within a network of experienced, energetic, and passionate scholars from nine European countries, and we are very grateful to have received the European Commission funding that enabled it to happen. The work that now comprises this book represents much of the project's work with Labour Force Survey data that have been analysed to study the individual, structural, and institutional conditions of successful youth labour market integration in Europe.

Despite being authored by a large group of international scholars, we are convinced that the continuous mutual exchange of ideas and results that has been characteristic of our group has actually led to a fairly high degree of internal consistency across individual chapters. We hope to translate this into offering readers a compelling overview on the structure of labour market entry in Europe. We are also confident that the close collaboration in our network has led us to arrive at a more balanced picture of cross-national similarities and differences in the early career experiences of young people than would have been possible from exclusively national points of view. We indeed trust that the individual chapters will convince readers of the added value of truly comparative research: each single chapter in this book provides a comparative analysis of a specific aspect of school leaving and labour market entry in Europe, and during our work on this project we found considerable merit in this way of working. We have learned that confronting hypotheses and research questions with data from institutionally and structurally different countries represents one of the most promising methods of social science research in terms of both providing new answers to old issues and generating new questions about issues that long seemed settled.

This book brings together only the smaller part of work that has actually been done within the CATEWE project. The chapters in this volume are unified by the fact that all draw on the European Labour Force Survey as a common database for their empirical analysis. Within the project, complementary analyses have been pursued drawing on longitudinal data from school-leaver surveys,

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