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Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Regula Geel

    () (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    () (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

Mobility and flexibility is increasingly demanded as structural change challenges estab-lished educational systems and traditional occupational demarcations. We use Lazear’s skill-weights approach (2003) first to operationalize the degree of specificity of skill com-binations in an innovative manner and second to derive hypotheses about the effects of occupation-specific skill combinations. In our empirical section, we find that the more specific an occupation, the smaller is the probability of an occupational change, as ex-pected. Furthermore, we are able to identify different clusters of occupations that are char-acterized by similar skill combinations within a given cluster and different skill combina-tions between clusters. We find that employees in very specific occupations have a com-paratively higher probability of changing their occupation within than between skill clus-ters. Moreover, occupational mobility within a skill cluster is accompanied by wage gains, while mobility between skill clusters results in wage losses. Not surprisingly, the more specific the former occupation is, either the higher is the resulting wage loss or the smaller is the resulting wage gain depending on whether the move is between or within skill clus-ters, respectively. Therefore, the acquired skill combination rather than the occupation per se crucially determines the mobility of an employee.

Suggested Citation

  • Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0047, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0047
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mohrenweiser, Jens, 2016. "Recruitment and apprenticeship training," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 23(1), pages 6-24.
    2. James Heckman & Tim Kautz, 2013. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition," Working Papers 2013-019, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Miriam Rinawi & Matthias Krapf & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Labor market transitions after layoffs: the role of occupational skills," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0103, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    4. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Benefits of Apprenticeship Training and Recent Challenges - Empirical Results and Lessons from Switzerland and Germany," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0097, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    5. Mohrenweiser, Jens & Zwick, Thomas, 2009. "Why do firms train apprentices? The net cost puzzle reconsidered," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 631-637, December.
    6. repec:spr:jlabrs:v:50:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s12651-017-0220-x is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Warnke, Arne Jonas & Ederer, Peer & Schuller, Philipp, 2012. "Cognitive skills, tasks and job mobility," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62026, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Barbara Mueller & Juerg Schweri, 2012. "The returns to occupation-specific human capital - Evidence from mobility after training," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0081, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    9. Christian Eggenberger & Miriam Rinawi & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2015. "Occupational Specificity: A new Measurement Based on Training Curricula and its Effect on Labor Market Outcomes," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0106, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised 2018.
    10. Kautz, Tim & Heckman, James J. & Diris, Ron & ter Weel, Bas & Borghans, Lex, 2014. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success," IZA Discussion Papers 8696, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Gold, Robert & Bode, Eckhardt, 2017. "Adult training in the digital age," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-54, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    12. Lerman, Robert I., 2013. "Skill Development in Middle Level Occupations: The Role of Apprenticeship Training," IZA Policy Papers 61, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Kathrin Göggel & Thomas Zwick, 2012. "Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Apprenticeship Training," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(3), pages 756-779, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Skill-weights approach; mobility; skill clusters; apprenticeship training;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training

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