Research Team 2

Choice of academic track, transition into the labor market and the links between education and employment

  • 2.1. Choice and differentiation of pathways
  • 2.2. Transition into the labor market and the connection between education and employment
  • 2.3. Conditions of access to and the practice of professions

Theme supervisors: G. Farges et J. Murdoch

Statuary participants : Jean Bourdon (emeritus), Thierry Chevaillier (emeritus), Magali Danner, Carine Erard, Géraldine Farges, Jean-François Giret, André Giffard (PAST), Christine Guégnard, Gérard Lassibille, Denis Loizon[1], Jake Murdoch, Georges Solaux (emeritus), Jean-Jacques Paul (Emeritus).
Associates: Nadir Altinok, Claire Bonnard, Aline Branche-Seigeot, Joelle Demougeot-Lebel

This theme, which is based on the partnership that has connected IREDU with CEREQ since 1976, seeks to contribute to the current understandings of the relationship between training and employment by analyzing trajectories from educational to professional pathways when students leave the educational system. The research is oriented towards an understanding of the factors (such as academic background, gender, social and cultural origin, region and professional and extra-professional experience), taken together, that can affect individuals’ pathways during the successive phases of orientation and reorientation first in the educational system and later in the labor market. From a methodological point of view, the research developed in this theme is frequently based on longitudinal analyses in order to observe academic and professional trajectories over a given period of time. From a theoretical point of view the research looks to the economics of education and the sociology of education and of professionswhich allows us to examine the social and market value of a diploma as well as the process that interfers with the relationship between training and employment. The research is divided into three subthemes: The process of differentiating pathways in the educational system, transition into the workforce and the relationship between training and employment, and the modes of regulating professions as well as the manner in which they affect the conditions of access and practice in these professions.

2.1. Choice and differentiation of pathways

A number of comparative studies have examined how different educational systems, by their policies of academic differentiation, contribute to or reduce the differentiation of academic pathways. They highlight notably the effects of these structures on social and economic inequalities at school and later at university (Müller et Karle, 1993; Shavitet al., 2007) [2] as well as the transitional phases between the educational system and the labor market (Shavit, Müller, 1998)[3]. This sub-theme seeks to understand how, beyond the inequalities tied to success (studies in theme 1), structural inequalities are more or less accentuated by the differentiation of academic tracks, notably between those that are geared for rapid insertion into the labor market and those that facilitate the continuation of a student’s education.

The research conducted under this sub-theme focuses on the continuation and valorization of on-going comparative research at the international level, like EDULIFE and PATH for which one of the goals is to analyze how the mechanisms of pathway differentiation are constructed for certain groups of young people based on their track (Brinbaum, Farges, Guégnard, Murdoch).

Other research, focused on France, hopes to analyze the evolution of inequalities of academic pathway, preformance, and trajectory accoring to social, geographic, and migrant origins based on two DEPP panels from 1995 and 2007 (Brinbaum et Farges). The goal of this project is to consider the factors at play at different moments along an individual’s pathway, while seeking to estimate the respective effects of individual and family characteristics, asprirations, previous academic pathways, and academic context. Centered on the transition from secondary to higher education another project financed by FABER-PARI[6] and conducted in collaboration with GTES[7], aims to better understand the regional social inequalities that can stimulate orientation and admission processes via the internet (post-baccalauréat procedure (APB) (Érard, Guégnard, Murdoch)). For example, the place of professional bachelors pursuing atypical higher education will be studied (Danner, Érard, Guégnard).

Finally, the research on working students is based on a longitudinal panel from the Conditions de Vie survey from the Observatoire National de la Vie Etudiante, for which IREDU was responsable. This study considers the effects of workng as a student on pathways in higher education and the risks of dropping out or moving into a different pathway (Giret, Berthaud, Solaux).

2.2. School to work transitions and the relationship between training and employment

If the effect of a diploma on transition into the work force has been frequently studied in past IREDU projects, notably in reference to the theory of human capital, a more nuanced analysis of educational pathways is needed to better understand the diversity of trajectories and pairings on the labor market (Sattinger, 2012)[8], which will effect the relationship between training and employment. Several studies will be carried out within this perspective, often in partnership with CEREQ.

One study developed in France in the context of the operating groups of the Génération survey will be carried out within the perspective of international comparison in the case of the success of the answer to the ANR ORA[9] call for proposals. The project will focus on young people with few or no formal qualifications who will experience long periods of unemployment and inactivity. The objective will be to identify the social and academic factors that explain “imprisonment” in these trajectories but also escape towards employment, education, or training (Guégnard, Murdoch, Giret). Extending the research of the past five years another project will allow us to re-examine the question of the relationship between traing and employment from the prespective of competences that are supposedly required on the labor market. A survey carried out by CEREQ in collaboration withCERTOP and IREDU seeks to better understand how the absence or non-utilization of general and specific skills, identified as the benchmarks of training, can explain situatuions of decommisson and non-correspondance between training and employment (Giret).

These studies may also be centered on the level of formation or on specific tracks. Two studies examine the particular case of students enrolled in STAPS based on CEREQ and local surveys (Loizon and Érard, Guégnard, Murdoch). They question the influence of athletic capital on the diversity of job prospects, from the pathways considered to be the most prestigious to the pathways that are the most removed from the field of STAPS. Additionally, the research on the scientific labor market, a theme that has been studied for seveal years by a number of IREDU researchers, especially on the school to work transition of engineers who have obtained their doctorate, will also continue (Bourdon, Bonnard, Giret). The goal is to understand the difficulties of acess to employment for young doctors, especially in the French private sector, where doctoral training is less valued than in other countries. In this research we raise the question of the professionalization of training in higher education and examine the many-facetted problems that can acompagny it (Rose, 2014)[10].

2.3. Conditions of the access to and excercise of professions

The third sub-theme focuses on the manner in which modes of regulation within professions can affect the access to and practice of these professions. The emphasis is primarily on educational professions although other professions, like those pertaining to art, can help to complete the analysis. The objective here is to focus on the manner in which professional socialization as proposed by Dubar (1991)[11], affects professional identites and trajectories. Research will, for example, discuss the more or less stable and specific dynamics of different professions (Gadea, Demazière, 2009)[12].

The research carried out under this sub-theme concerns the social statuses, trajectories, and access to different professions in education in comparison with other professional groups, to observe how they integrate the resources that actors do or do not posses to successfully adjust their careers within a changing configuration. This includes research on job stratification of teachers in France and abroad (Bennacer, Lassibille), the deteminants of abandoning or changing careers (Danner, Farges, Genelot, Garcia) while taking into account different kinds of work and gender dynamics. In addition research on artistic professions carried out by IREDU over the past decade in partnership with the Ministry of Culture will help complete this approach (Danner, Guégnard). If the modes of regulation differ for teaching professions, the trajectories of access to and exit from these professions is rooted in the professional market while also structuing professional identity.

[1]Denis Loizon, MCF was attached to another laboratory of the University of Burgundy, officially joined the IREDU in September 2016 but was able to participate in discussions on the construction of the project.
[2] Müller W., Karle W. (1993). Social Selection in Educational Systems in Europe. European Sociological Review 9(1), 1-23 ; Shavit Y., Arum R.,Gamoran A. (2007). Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study, Studies in social inequality. Palo Alto : Stanford University Press.
[3] Shavit Y., Müller W. (1998). From School to Work: A Comparative Study of Educational Qualifications and Occupational Destinations. Oxford : Clarendon press
[4] Jackson M. (2013). Determined to Succeed? Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment. Palo Alto : Stanford University Press
[5] Projet Education as a Lifelong Process – Comparing Educational Trajectories in Modern Societies, project coodinated by HP. P Blossfeld of the European University of Florence, Projet Pathways, Aspirations, Tracking and access to Higher education coordinated by C. Imdorf, Univeristy of Bâle.
[6] Project financed by the Conseil Régional pour les enseignants chercheurs nouveaux arrivants.
[7] The work group on higher education, lead by CEREQ, permits in this research to collaborate with other associated centers of CEREQ and the local observatories of student life in Strasbourg, Rennes, Tours, Montpellier and Paris.
[8] Sattinger M. (2012). Qualitative Mismatches. Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics, 8(1-2), 1-168.
[9]IREDU is the French partner of a consortium that responded on this topic to the call for international projects from ORA Open Research Area for the social sciences” in partnership with WZB (WZB – Berlin Social Science Center), the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market, Maastricht), the department of education at Oxford and the school of social studies at Doshisha Université, Japon).
[10] Rose J. (2014). Mission insertion, un défi pour les universités. Rennes : Presses Universitaire de Rennes.
[11] Dubar C. (1991). La socialisation, construction des identités sociales et professionnelles. Paris : Armand Colin.
[12] Demazière D., Gadéa C. (dir.) (2009). Sociologie des groupes professionnels : acquis récents et nouveaux défis. Paris : La découverte.