Young People in Transition from Education to Labour Market. Results of the Swiss youth panel survey TREE, update 2007

Bertschy, Kathrin; Böni, Edi; Meyer, Thomas (2008). Young People in Transition from Education to Labour Market. Results of the Swiss youth panel survey TREE, update 2007 Berne: TREE

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Englische Fassung der Ergebnisbroschüre 2007. -

For the past seven years, TREE has been following a cohort of Swiss school leavers (PISA 2000/TREE cohort). This brochure gives an overview on the cohort’s situation in terms of education, training and employment in 2006, six years after it has completed compulsory schooling. Members of the cohort had reached an average age of 22 years by then. About half of the sample representing the cohort was employed when surveyed 2006. On the other hand, the percentage of the cohort still enrolled in education or training had decreased – from 90% in 2002 – to one third. Compared to other OECD countries, the Swiss age group in question shows a relatively low participation rate in education and training at that stage, along with a relatively high rate of employment.
Those still in education or training in 2006 are mostly enrolled at the tertiary level (university, higher education). However, six years upon completion of compulsory schooling, about one in eight youths of the surveyed cohort is still enrolled in upper secondary level programmes. By 2006, approximately four in five young adults of the surveyed cohort have graduated from upper secondary education and training. About 60% have obtained a certificate in vocational education and training (VET), while about 20% have acquired a diploma of general education. Approximately one fifth of the cohort has not obtained any post-compulsory certificate or diploma up to 2006. About half of this group has left the education system by then, be it temporarily or for good. The risk of remaining without any postcompulsory certification is particularly high among youth with low socio-economic status, PISA low achievers and youth out of education and training during the first year following the end of compulsory school. The TREE results also show that the percentage of “uncertified” youth in the French-speaking part of Switzerland is twice as high as in the German-speaking part. Inversely, tertiary education enrolment is positively correlated to high socio-economic status and high PISA achievement. Living in urban areas rather than on the countryside, and living in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland is also positively associated with tertiary enrolment rates.
Those having left the educational system by 2006 have found gainful employment in seven out of eight cases. Youth with a VET certificate have a significantly higher chance to be employed than those without any post-compulsory certification. Employment prospects for youth from German-speaking Switzerland are significantly better than in the country’s other language regions. Inversely, the risk of unemployment is significantly increased in the French and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland. About half of the cohort had been actively searching employment prior to the job they held in 2006. The average duration of their job search had been approximately three months. Compared to the country’s economically active population as a whole, the newcomers to the Swiss labour market surveyed here have to be content with significantly lower starting salaries. Half of the gainfully employed part of the PISA/TREE cohort earns less than CHF 4,200 per month (approx. € 2,500). The median for (fulltime) gross monthly income among the labour force as a whole is at CHF 5,700 (approx. € 3,400). Uncertified youths earn significantly less than those having obtained a VET certificate. So do jobholders from French and Italian-speaking Switzerland in comparison to those from the German-speaking part of the country. The TREE results also show substantial income disparities by gender: under comparable conditions and qualifications, young women earn about CHF 500 or >10% less than men. For a large majority of the surveyed youth cohort, the transition to employment takes place under contractually satisfactory conditions. However, TREE also shows that a substantial minority experiences precariousness when performing this transition. About one fifth of youth is underemployed, performs work on demand or has a working contract that is limited in time. Women’s risk of being precariously employed is almost twice as high (26%) as men’s (14%). By 2006, about one in five graduates from basic VET have ceased to work in the profession in which they had obtained their certificate – or have never done so.
Beyond education and employment, the surveyed cohort does not seem to be in a hurry to leave the parental home. Only about 40% of the cohort has moved out of the parental residence by 2006. This percentage varies substantially according to language region, gender and educational status. Women in particular tend to leave the parental home at a substantially higher rate (49%) than men (28%). Other critical life events such as marriage or first child birth concern only a very small percentage of the PISA/TREE cohort (5% and less).

Item Type:

Report (Report)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Bertschy, Kathrin; Böni, Edi and Meyer, Thomas


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




[1036] Transitions from Education to Employment (TREE) Official URL




Thomas Meyer

Date Deposited:

23 Oct 2019 11:25

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:29

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

gender tree




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