Économie et Statistique n° 431-432 - 2010Labor, Training and Occupational Skills
Access to Continuing Education in the Workplace and Characteristics of Local Labour Markets
Not all workers are equally likely to access continuing-education programs funded by their employers. The employees with the greatest chances of doing so are neither beginners in their jobs nor newcomers to the labour market; they hold managerial or intermediate white-collar positions in large firms (more than 500 employees) in the service sector or high-tech industrial sector. Such employees have more than one chance in two of having attended an employer-funded training program in the previous year, compared with an average closer to one chance in four. After examining these characteristics of the employee and the firm, we are left with spatial differences in access to continuing education: the probability of access decreases when the density of local labour markets (measured at employment-area level) increases. The better employee/job matches and the higher turnover in dense markets seem to be decisive in explaining the lesser reliance on continuing education in these geographic areas. Our findings suggest that (1) the negative role of density only affects employees in urban firms and (2) employees in rural firms are less likely to access continuing education than their urban-firm counterparts.