From School to Work: A Comparative Study of Educational Qualifications and Occupational Destinations

From School to Work: A Comparative Study of Educational Qualifications and Occupational Destinations

From School to Work: A Comparative Study of Educational Qualifications and Occupational Destinations

From School to Work: A Comparative Study of Educational Qualifications and Occupational Destinations

Synopsis

This fascinating comparative study presents the latest research into the value of qualifications for the attainment of first job, and in securing employment. A team of some of the world's leading scholars in the field examine the ways in which educational qualifications affect the occupational outcomes of men and women in thirteen countries. The book features chapters on each of these countries, together with a lead chapter which integrates them, and analyses them comparatively. The authors present a wealth of rich and detailed information on educational institutions in these various countries, as well as reports on rigorous statistical analyses of the associations between qualifications and occupations. The data reveals marked differences between countries in how education shapes occupational attainment, and indicates that these differences are related, in very systematic ways, to the institutional characteristics of school systems. The book offers a range of insightful policy-oriented observations, for example that vocational education is valuable in countries where training is occupationally specific, but is of little value where the curricula are general in content.

Excerpt

Education is the single most important determinant of occupational success in industrialized societies. Employers rely on educational credentials when selecting individuals for specific work tasks, and individuals, accordingly, invest in education in order to improve their competitive advantage on the labour market. It is evident, that both individual investments in education and the use made by employers of qualifications, affect the pattern of association that we observe between education and labour-market outcomes. But it is far from clear how precisely this association is generated in various countries. There are large differences between countries in the way education is organized. Indeed, educational systems differ greatly cross-nationally. We therefore start from the premiss that the role of education in occupational attainment varies between societies. In some, education is valued for the specific vocational skills it represents, in others, for equipping workers with a level of general knowledge, while in others still, education is valued for sorting students by their scholastic ability or learning potential. The main objective of this book then, is to identify systematic differences among countries, in the relationship between education and occupational outcomes, and to relate them to their institutional contexts.

The book thus focuses on a specific aspect of the broader issue of social stratification and mobility in industrial societies. Education is a crucial intervening link between the social background of individuals and their later class destination (Carlsson 1958; Blau andDuncan 1967). From earlier research we know, that among the several processes generating the inter-generational transmission of advantage, the link between education . . .

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