Économie et Statistique n° 378-379 - 2004Education-Employment Review
Entering the world of work in Europe: contrasting situations
The ways of entering the world of work vary considerably from one country to the next, even within Europe. Hence the transition from the education system to the world of work is not formalised everywhere in the same way. In France, it is seen as a complex, ongoing process. In Germany, it entails two distinct stages: access to a combined job/training contract followed by access to employment. Although young workers in Europe are in a less enviable professional position than their elders, the extent of this disadvantage fluctuates a great deal from one country to the next. In the twelve countries studied, the frequency of early work experiences before leaving the education system appears to narrow the unemployment risk gap between first jobbers and experienced workers. The opening up of a larger number of economic sectors to first jobbers appears to have the same effect. The two groups of young and experienced workers post similar risks of unemployment and occupational downgrading and similar job mobility in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany. Conversely, young Greeks and Italians, even when qualified, have a large handicap compared with their elders. France is in an intermediate position between these two groups, with qualifications being particularly favourable to access to employment. Nevertheless, young workers with higher education qualifications hold a senior or middle management position relatively less often in France, Spain and the United Kingdom.