Occupational change at the transition from apprenticeship to work

  • Barbara Müller
  • Jürg Schweri
Keywords: Apprenticeship training, vocational education and training (VET), occupation, transition, labour market, PISA


Based on the youth panel data set TREE, we analyse the incidence, reasons for and effects of occupational changes at the transition from apprenticeship to work. One year after graduation, about 9 percent of the apprenticeship graduates are working in a notedly different occupation than the one they have learned. The main factors influencing occupational change are features of the learned occupation such as the level of requirements and unemployment in the occupation, as well as the level of satisfaction with the training. Personal background variables and graduates’ abilities as measured by grades and PISA test scores show little effect.Occupational changers earn 5 percent less, on average, than those who are working in the learned occupation. This result suggests that there is a specialisation going on in apprenticeship training; the occupation-specific human capital acquired during apprenticeship will be rewarded by the labour market when working in the learned occupation. The wage effects are, however, not homogenous. On average, occupational changers earn significantly more than people without post-compulsory education. Comparing persons who followed a dual apprenticeship with persons who attended school-based VET tracks, the latter earn slightly less in general and exhibit a higher probability to change occupation. After an occupational change, there are no significant wage differences between the two groups anymore.

How to Cite
Müller, B., & Schweri, J. (2009). Occupational change at the transition from apprenticeship to work. Swiss Journal of Educational Research, 31(2), 199-228. https://doi.org/10.24452/sjer.31.2.5093
Thematic contribution