Économie et Statistique n° 388-389 - 2005Training-Employment (II): Training and Quality of Employment
The career paths of young people on leaving education and wage downgrading
742,000 young people left education for the first time in 1998. Three years later, 82.4% were in employment, 9.2% were unemployed and 8.4% were inactive. Almost half had been unemployed at some point since leaving education. In spring 2001, the majority of young people (60%) stated that finding a stable job was their main priority during the first three years after leaving education, well ahead of pursuing a career (26%) or devoting time to their private life (14%). In order to attain this stability, some young people compromised on their wage, taking jobs which were low-paid with regard to their qualifications. 42% of baccalauréat or higher education diploma holders, however, have enjoyed stable employment without «downgrading in terms of salary»: here, those most qualified, young men, and children of managers are overrepresented. Yet 14% of young people have experienced downgrading whilst in stable employment: these tend to be young women, children of labourers or white-collar workers, and holders of the simple baccalauréat, but also bac +3/4 holders (3/4 year higher education diploma) 7% of baccalauréat or higher education diploma holders have held a downgraded job before moving to a higher level job in line with their qualifications: those who worked during their studies are moved to a higher level job more quickly. Young people sometimes accept a wage downgrade in order to escape unemployment or precarious employment: if 3% of young people have accepted a downgraded job after a long period of unemployment and have a negative outlook on their career, 5% have taken a downgraded job after having held a higher level job in line with their qualifications. They opt to take a downgraded job with a lower salary in order to reduce the level of uncertainty with regard to the duration of their contract, and are more positive about their career.