Social Networks and the Transition from Education to Work

Research question/goal: 

The transition from the education system to the labour market is a crucial period in setting the course for the future working life. At the same time, there is general agreement that social relations are important for the labour market success of individuals. While there is substantial research on these topics, relatively little empirical studies exist which analyse the influence of social networks on the education to work transition. This is especially true for the German context. The aim of the project is to aid in reducing this research gap. In order to do so, effects of the actual mobilization of social contacts as well as of several network characteristics on the transition are analysed utilizing data from the German National Educational Panel Study. Apart from the extensity and the social composition of the network, the ethnic network composition of migrants as well as gender specific network aspects are also examined. Additionally, the question is addressed, if correlations between networks and search success can really be traced back to causal network effects. To gain a comprehensive picture, besides the transition from secondary school to vocational training, the transition of bachelor graduates to the German labour market is investigated. Social capital approaches serve as a theoretical foundation for the project.

Current stage: 

In the first months of the project, we analysed the influence of parents and friends on the educational expectations of secondary school students in the highly stratified German education system. Subsequently, we focused on identifying how students’ transitions after secondary level I and their success in searching for an apprenticeship are affected by their parents’ social networks. The research results were presented at national and international conferences and were prepared for journal articles.

Fact sheet

Funding: 
DFG
Duration: 
2015 to 2018
Status: 
ongoing
Data Sources: 
Secondary Data Analysis, National Educational Panel Study
Geographic Space: 
Germany

Publications