How educational track determines wages in early careers. Panel evidence for Switzerland

Korber, Mailys (May 2019). How educational track determines wages in early careers. Panel evidence for Switzerland (TREE Working Paper Series 1). Bern: TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment)

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Vocational education and training (VET) is known to ease the entry into the labour market by providing specific skills more readily applied in a given occupation. In comparison, general education graduates may face more difficulties entering the labour market due to a lack of work-related skills. However, general education graduates may be better rewarded after several years of experience, while VET graduates may stagnate in jobs and pay-levels similar to those at labour market entry. This paper analyses whether VET graduates have a decreasing wage advantage on general education graduates in their twenties. Early careers of youth are analysed by drawing on data of the Swiss Transition from Education to Employment (TREE) cohort study. We follow a cohort of youth from the end of their upper secondary education (apprenticeship or baccalaureate degree) up to the age of 30. This paper uses a matching method to account for selection based on academic achievement and social origin of students before they choose vocational or general education. Our results suggest that both VET and general education graduates earn similar hourly wages at the entry into the labour market once we take this selection into account. The second main finding is that six years of work experience, female general education graduates earn significantly more than female VET graduates.

Item Type:

Working Paper


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


TREE Working Paper Series


TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment)


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




Thomas Meyer

Date Deposited:

13 Jun 2019 15:16

Last Modified:

17 Feb 2020 09:32




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