Scarring Effects of Early Unemployment among Young Workers with Vocational Credentials in Switzerland

Helbling, Laura Alexandra; Sacchi, Stefan (2014). Scarring Effects of Early Unemployment among Young Workers with Vocational Credentials in Switzerland. Empirical research in vocational education and training, 6(12), pp. 1-22. Springer 10.1186/s40461-014-0012-2

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Background Using a unique, longitudinal survey that follows school-to-work transitions of pupils who participated in PISA 2000, this paper investigates adverse consequences, so-called scarring effects, of early unemployment among young adults who acquired vocational credentials in Switzerland. Methods As social, individual and contextual factors influence both early unemployment and later employment outcomes, taking into account endogeneity is of utmost importance when investigating scarring effects. In this regard we make use of nearest-neighbour propensity score matching and set up statistical control groups. Results Our results suggest that young adults who hold vocational credentials are more likely to be neither in employment nor in education, and to earn less and be more dissatisfied with their career progress later in work life than they would be, had they not experienced early unemployment. Conclusions We conclude that unemployment scarring also affects young adults with vocational credentials in a liberal labour market setting that otherwise allows for smooth school-to-work transitions. This finding runs counter to expectations that standardised vocational degrees, a liberal and flexible labour market structure, and predominantly short unemployment spells protect young skilled workers from scarring in case they happen to experience early career instability.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Helbling, Laura Alexandra and Sacchi, Stefan


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 310 Statistics
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education






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




Thomas Meyer

Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2015 12:18

Last Modified:

02 Sep 2019 10:47

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Scarring effects; Early unemployment; School-to-work transition; Vocational education and training (VET)




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