Smoothness of the School-to-Work Transition: General versus Vocational Upper-Secondary Education

Marten Middeldorp, Arjen Edzes, Jouke van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article analyses the effect of vocational education on school-to-work transitions for the 2006 cohort of Dutch graduates of upper-secondary education (ISCED Level 3). Using sequence analysis, it uncovers ideal-typical school-to-work transition trajectories representing the first 7 years in the labour market. It then analyses the effect of vocational education on trajectories and wages. Specific attention is paid to the moderating influence of vocational sector and type of programme: classroom-taught or workplace-based. The results indicate that, compared to entrants with general education, vocationally educated entrants are less likely to have problematic labour market entry trajectories. Vocational field has a moderating effect on the prevalence of particular trajectories. Those with a vocational education enjoy higher wages on labour market entry but are soon overtaken by their counterparts with a general education.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • labor market entry
  • young adults
  • youth
  • vocational education
  • general education
  • europe

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