Continuity and change (II): Determinants in career and personal growth up to 52 years of age

Intercantonal College for Therapeutic Pedagogy (HfH) & University of Basel

Lead researchers: Prof. Dr. Kurt Häfeli (lead),
Dr. Claudia Schellenberg (co-lead); Prof. Dr. Alexander Grob (co-lead)

Duration: 01.05.2014 - 30.04.2017

A further survey is being contributed to the Zurich longitudinal study (ZLSE) "From School to Middle Adulthood". The ZLSE is a longitudinal study with a sample (born in 1963) representative of German-speaking Switzerland, which so far includes ten surveys carried out when the cohort members were between the age of 15 and 49. In the tenth survey in spring 2012, 485 persons (response rate 76%) could be contacted. In the eleventh survey, the focus is now on the interplay between personality and occupation, work-life balance and health. It is planned to conduct a repeat measurement of key aspects of personality and to gather more detailed information about the family (what do partners and children do), all of which are factors that are closely linked to a person's professional development. In this way, a person's suitability for a profession and the mutual influence (interaction) between a person and their professional activity can be studied and careers better understood. For example, where does a person who was described as optimistic and conscientious as a young person stand in life once they reach middle age? Experiences in the workplace can change aspects of a person's character, whether it be in terms of power, interests, motivation for work or personality in the narrow sense ("Big Five").

By further expanding the sample (full survey at the B5 evaluation period, then 18 years of age), issues such as career patterns and career pathways in specific professional groups and groups of persons can be analysed more closely beyond the age of 50, a psychologically interesting threshold. It may be assumed that career pathways differ greatly between professional areas (e.g. service industry vs. technical and engineering professions) and groups of persons (e.g. people with an impairment). Under the planned project, the extent to which the dual vocational and education training (VET) system of the 1980s forms a sound basis for further professional development beyond the age of 50 and what limits there are to this system can be examined on the basis of the 1963 cohort. This will provide conclusions not only about how this generation is likely to behave on the continuing education and labour markets, but also for the VPET system and VPET policy, which have developed since the 1980s.


Project description on the HfH website

Continuity and change: Determinants of career and personal growth from youth to middle-age