No dead-end qualifications: individual education and training pathways and prospects

University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration

Lead researcher: Dr Simone Tuor Sartore

Duration: 01.01.2012 - 31.12.2015

Young people in Switzerland have to opt for an education or training pathway relatively early on. However, they then have a wide range of different training options open to them. This study focuses on individuals who hold a tertiary level qualification and analyses their education and training pathways. The study particularly addresses the question of which factors determine the selection of a given education and training pathway and the resulting job prospects. A distinction is drawn here between purely vocational, purely academic and mixed pathways, in other words education pathways that comprise both vocational and academic training programmes. The study bases its empirical analyses on the 2011 Swiss Adult Education Survey. The study’s analyses show that first, mixed education pathways are not uncommon and have sharply increased in recent years. Second, there is a strong correlation between the education or training pathway completed by parents and the education pathways chosen by their children, although interestingly this is not the case for mixed education pathways. Young people are therefore equally likely to pursue mixed education pathways, irrespective of their parents’ education. Third, the results show that mixed education pathways are well able to compete with other education pathways and that they can lead to comparable salaries. This suggests that mixed education paths should be thought of less as a change of direction and rather as an active choice that allows young people to combine complementary educational curricula. These results underscore the importance of permeability in education systems.