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Career Changers in Teaching Jobs: A Case Study Based on the Swiss Vocational Education System


  • Hof, Stefanie

    () (Swiss Co-ordination Center for Research in Education)

  • Strupler Leiser, Mirjam

    () (University of Bern)

  • Wolter, Stefan C.

    () (University of Bern)


This study investigates the determinants and motives of professionals who change career to vocational teaching. The framework for this study is the Swiss vocational education system, which requires that teachers of vocational subjects must have a prior career in that specific field. Thus, to work in teaching, every vocational teacher has to change his or her initial career. This paper focuses on the relevance of monetary motives for changing a career to teaching. Using a unique data set of trainee teachers, we show that professionals who change their careers to teaching earned on average more in their first career than comparable workers in the same occupation. Our findings additionally demonstrate that the average career changer still expects to earn significantly more as a teacher than in the former career. However, the study shows substantial heterogeneity and a zero wage elasticity of the teacher supply, suggesting that non-monetary motives are more relevant for career change than monetary factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Hof, Stefanie & Strupler Leiser, Mirjam & Wolter, Stefan C., 2011. "Career Changers in Teaching Jobs: A Case Study Based on the Swiss Vocational Education System," IZA Discussion Papers 5806, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5806

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefan Denzler & Stefan C. Wolter, 2009. "Laufbahnentscheide im Lehrberuf aus bildungsökonomischer Sicht," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0041, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
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    More about this item


    career change; occupational change; rate of return to education; wage differentials; teacher wages; vocational education and training;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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