The intersection of gender and social origin in the labour market. Emerging differences over the educational trajectory

Seiler, Simon; Zimmermann, Barbara (29 September 2017). The intersection of gender and social origin in the labour market. Emerging differences over the educational trajectory (Unpublished). In: 3rd International Conference on Transitions in Youth, Young Adulthood and Beyond. Bern, Switzerland. 29.09.-30.09.2017.

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The educational expansion of the last decades has broadened access to higher education. Especially girls caught up with boys in their educational attainments (DiPrete and Buchmann 2013). Whether educational inequalities by social origin decreased is less clear. Moreover, there is evidence that this trend might be gender specific: Becker and Müller (2011) show that the effects of social origin on educational outcomes remained strong for boys but less so for girls. At the same time, improved education for women has not translated into equal work opportunities for men and women (Blau and Kahn 2016).
So far, in research on educational transitions and/or labour market inequalities, effects of social origin and gender have rarely been studied jointly (for an exception see Rivera and Tilcsik 2016). The aim of our research is to fill this gap and better understand the mechanisms that lead to differences in occupational outcomes at the intersection of social origin and gender by considering different pathways from compulsory education into the labour market.
Theoretically, we combine two lines of argumentation: First, we draw on the literature on primary and secondary effects of origin (Bourdieu and Passeron 1971; Boudon 1974; Breen and Goldthorpe 1997). Second, we assume that the horizontal gender segregation by field of study, vocational education and training (VET), and occupation (Barone and Schizzerotto 2011; Charles and Bradley 2009; Gabay-Egozi et al. 2014) can translate into vertical stratification (for Switzerland see for example: Imdorf and Hupka-Brunner 2015; Hupka-Brunner et al. 2011; Zimmermann 2012). Furthermore, we pursue a life-course perspective to identify cumulative advantages or disadvantages over the educational trajectory (Sackmann 2007, Chapter 6).
In order to investigate this empirically, we use data from the TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment) panel study that follows a large sample of Swiss PISA 2000 participants in their transition from education to their labour market position at age 30 (nine data collection waves, 2001–2014).
In a first step, we employ sequence analysis to identify relevant clusters of sequences of education and job episodes of the respondents. Then, we conduct regression analysis to determine how these types of educational pathways influence job outcomes depending on social origin and gender. Classifying the pathways using sequence analysis allows us to reduce the complexity of individual life courses without sacrificing the strength of panel data.
Preliminary results show, first, that educational pathways differ by social origin and gender. The higher the social status of the parents, the more likely it is that children pass through one of the academic pathways. Similarly, women more often to run through an academic track, whereas men more frequently complete vocational training. Second, these different trajectories lead to unequal occupational status. Net of the educational trajectory also a significant effect of social origin remains. Finally, gender effects on job outcomes are specific to educational trajectories, indicating that they result from horizontal segregation.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Seiler, Simon, Zimmermann, Barbara Andrea


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Barbara Andrea Zimmermann

Date Deposited:

16 May 2018 07:56

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:12




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