The labour market returns to vocational education over the life course

Korber, Maïlys (2019). The labour market returns to vocational education over the life course. (Dissertation, Université de Lausanne)

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Vocational education and training (VET) is known to ease the entry into the labour market by providing specific skills that are readily applicable in a given occupation. This type of education may enable young individuals to find a good match at the beginning of their career, but it may also leave older workers vulnerable to technological change and shifts in the occupational structure. On the other hand, holders of general education may face more difficulties when entering the labour market due to a lack of work-related skills but may be better rewarded after several years of experience due to the larger flexibility of general skills.
We address this question in four empirical chapters. We investigate employmentand wages over the life course for holders of vocational education, and compare them with holders of general education –mainly –but also of lower education. We use different datasets and focus ouranalyses on Switzerland, though we also include a comparison with the United Kingdom. The results show that employment prospects remain as good for vocational as for general education over the second half of individual’s careers. However, vocational education is associated with substantially lower earnings once workers enter their thirties, and this disadvantage is larger for women than it is for men. Those results hold for the upper-secondary level; at the tertiary level, vocational education and general education seems to be associated with similar prospects in terms of employment and wages.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


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


Université de Lausanne


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




Thomas Meyer

Date Deposited:

30 Oct 2019 09:32

Last Modified:

12 Apr 2020 16:33

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