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School-To-Work Transition Of Higher Education Graduates In Four Eastern European Countries


  • Cristina Mocanu
  • Ana-Maria Zamfir
  • Eliza-Olivia Lungu
  • Eva Militaru


Education is one of the most important factors of allocation and matching on the labour market2. However, there are important cross-national differences with respect to unemployment rate of those with tertiary education, youth transition to the world of work and quality of jobs in which educated school leavers are employed3 4. School-to-work transition is a recently developed concept that is associated with change and uncertainty. For most young people, the integration on the labour market is long and difficult. School leavers are more vulnerable to unemployment due to the fact that they have to compete with more experienced workers for jobs while employers anticipate higher training costs for them. Moreover, as some skills acquired in school are not adapted to job requirements, young people experience difficulties at the labour market entry. On the other hand, labour market conditions are important determinants for youth transition performance. While there is a rich literature on school-to-work transition in Western countries, there is still a gap of knowledge in Eastern European ones. This paper explores patterns of labour market entry of higher education graduates in several Eastern European countries. We analyse HUGESCO data set that provides information on higher education graduates leaving education in 2002 and 2003 in four post-communist countries: Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia. School leavers were interviewed in 2008 and offered information on their first and current job. We restrict our sample to individuals which have had paid work after graduation and explore three indicators for assessing the quality of their school-to-work transition: speed of labour market entry, stability and adequacy of insertion. Transition speed is measured by the duration to the first job, while stability of insertion is assessed by the duration of first employment spell. Both indicators are explored by using survival rate analyses. Finally, adequacy of insertion is measured by education-job mismatch at the first job. We study cross-national differences for the three indicators and their relation with individual, structural and institutional variables, including economic conditions, employment protection legislation index (OECD), mechanisms of finding employment, as well as features of the education system. This paper is organised as follows. The second chapter provides a review of the most important contributions in the field of school-to-work transition, with a special accent on higher education graduates. The third section includes a presentation of our data and methodology and the paper ends with the discussion of our results and conclusions together with outlining the theoretical and practical implications of our outcomes.

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  • Cristina Mocanu & Ana-Maria Zamfir & Eliza-Olivia Lungu & Eva Militaru, 2012. "School-To-Work Transition Of Higher Education Graduates In Four Eastern European Countries," Working Papers 2012/15, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Quintini, Glenda & Martin, John P. & Martin, S├ębastien, 2007. "The Changing Nature of the School-to-Work Transition Process in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 2005. "Human Capital and Technology Diffusion," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 935-966 Elsevier.
    3. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2002. "Education and wages in the 1980s and 1990s: are all groups moving up together?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Q 1, pages 19-46.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
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    higher education; transition speed; employment spell; job mismatch; survival rate; labour market regulation;

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