Education and Labour Market Entry across Europe : The Impact of Institutional Arrangements in Training Systems and Labour Markets
Education is the main resource of young people entering the labour market for securing employment, in competing for adequate employment contracts and to fulfill their occupational aspirations. As European countries differ widely in the institutional structure of their education and training systems and labour markets, different resources are provided to school-leavers entering into working life in different countries, who additionally face varying institutional and economic contexts in labour markets. The paper empirically addresses the crucial role of educational qualifications for successful labour market entry in twelve European countries in the mid-1990s, drawing on the 1992-1997 European Community Labour Force Survey. The main aim of the analyses is to gauge the extent to which cross-national differences in labour market outcomes for market entrants can be related to institutional differences between countries in terms of differences in qualification profiles of school leavers and differences in terms of the relationship between qualifications and early labour market outcomes. The analyses cover unemployment and occupational allocation as two major dimensions of early labour market outcomes, applying multilevel modelling to a database of repeated comparative cross-sectional surveys. The results indicate that institutional differences in both education and training systems and labour markets play a major role in explaining cross-national differences in the experiences of young people entering the labour market in EU countries, even allowing for the effects of variation in economic conditions and other unmeasured heterogeneity between countries and types of qualifications.