Foreign longitudinal studies of educational and professional strategies of youth 

In this article reviews the international experience of conducting empirical research on the problems of education. The main emphasis is on the studies on the educational and professional strategies of young people. A review of studies shows that extensive experience in the study of educational issues is collected overseas and this review is characterized by the vastness of the topics addressed, and the presence of longitudinal and cross-country comparative projects. Research projects are carried out by both state and non-state organizations and they are also interdisciplinary.

Nowadays, the problem of mismatching between the needs of the modern labour market and the educational and professional choice of the youth raises questions of both theoretical and practical nature against social scientists.

Educational strategies of the youth, as a choice based on certain educational attitudes, bring considerable correctives into the structural changes of the society, labour market education and correlation between these mobile systems.

One of the current problems of the modern world is co-ordination of interacting process between labour market and system of professional education. A transfer from the learning to the job activities is an important stage in everyone’s lives. «Successful job placement of graduates is a sign of State and society’s investments into education, and an insurance of active involvement of the youth into the labour market, therefore it is very important to understand the limits and challenges that arise at this stage» [1].

Nowadays, more and more young people get higher education, however they have fewer hopes for guaranteed and long-terming employment. The youth has to act in the type of situation when social experience of the former generations is ineffective, i.e. conventional forms of social and professional development are broadly poor, but the new forms are not completely defined or limited by the extra-institutional social practices and informal social dependencies. The society of scientists, politicians and experts have a question, aroused against it — How to tailor educational organizations to the modern market conditions and to provide employment of the young generation.

As it is commonly known, one of the serious threats to the modern global stability is a growth of unemployment. A British economist, a Nobel Prize winner in economics — Christopher Pissarides notes that «we should mind that unemployed one cannot be unemployed for too long, we must give him work experience, so that he doesn’t lose a feeling of involvement into the labour force» [2]. He offers further education and more profound mastering in different specialties as well as professional development after getting employment  as a preventative measure.

In the conditions of acceleration of the modern labour market there is a high need for new analysis of impact of objective and subjectve, external and internal factors that influence on educational and professional choice of the youth. This stipulates analysis of theoretical and practical achievements in the given field of problematic.

The aim of the given article is an analysis of studies experience in the field of educational strategies of the youth and their correspondence to the labour market in the foreign studies.

Among studies of the stated problematic in Russia one should significantly mention projects of research institutes of National research university of the Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE, Moscow), which may be distinguished by large scale and frequency. Amongst others, the Institute of statistic researches and economy of knowledge at the NRU HSE in co-ordination with the Ministry of the education and science of the Russian Federation and Rosstat provides preparation and publication of specialized books about statistics in the field of education on the regular basis. These data are the result of monitoring of the economics of education (MEE), which is a system of statistical and sociological surveys, analytical studies aimed at measuring the economic parameters in the sphere of education. The project is implemented on an annual basis since 2002. The study is unique not only in the Russian, but also in the international practice, it is of integrated nature, covers all segments of the education market and its various actors (households, educational institutions of all levels, students and teachers, employers). The result is a fundamentally new information base for the development of public policy in the field of education [3].

Surveys of management of vocational education institutions, which are an integral part of monitoring the economics of education, may be of some interest. They are held every year since the 2003. Survey results are systematically published on the site of monitoring the economics of education and in newsletters. The purpose of this research is to determine the degree of coherence of strategies with the aims and objectives of the state and the realities of society development and awareness of stakeholders about the results in order to the necessary adjustments be made in a timely manner [4; 4].

The strategies research of management of educational institutions is organized on key policy strategies of the institutions: first of all, educational policy (strategies of enrollment, improvement of educational programs and employment of graduates), pricing, financial, and personnel policies. In each wave factors influencing the choice of a particular strategy are investigated. Such factors include the presentation of the leaders on the status of the institution in the education market and the labour market, which has recently become more relevant in the view of the ongoing demographic decline and low income of the general public. Also, as the factors taken into account the following is considered a state or non-state status of the institution, the type settlement in which it is located and industry affiliation. The specificity of the survey held in 2010 is a profound study of the differences in the areas of expertise of the following factors: the effective demand of the population, the level of the teaching staff, the intensity of changes of educational programs, as well as the employment prospects of graduates, including the assessment of their wages level [4; 4–5].

When assessing the factors of graduates employment at the labour market, almost all the managers have put a «good training» on the first place. In second place there was such a factor as the «name (brand) of the institution» and the third — «practical experience of students».

An interesting experience, in our opinion, is the focus on the work of the university graduates. According to the authors, the graduates who are now employers themselves act as a very important resource both  in the employment of later graduates, and in the funding of research and development, as well as tuition of their employees. According to the survey it was found that the most common form of interaction with alumni is an invitation to various traditional meetings. This form was noted 61–78 % of the respondents. Such meetings as additional personal contacts, allow educational institutions and employers to refer to specific problems and their possible mutually-profitable options of the solutions. All forms of interaction are used much more frequently in Moscow and in public institutions. Also, an invitation to work as a teacher under contract is very useful. It happens very often, that due to the lack of opportunity to read the whole course, graduates are invited for at least for short-term exchange of experience at seminars and conferences [4; 21].

Another important and characteristic moment of today's reality is that in a survey of masters of Russian universities (in the monitoring of the economics of education) from 42 to 60 % of undergraduates work part time in different regions. Every fifth student from the junior classes works. It is obvious that the combination of study and work will affect the decline in the quality of education of students working. As a result, the received experience can help in the initial employment, but received lack of knowledge can have a negative impact on professional development later.

It is significant that the Russian enterprises in recent years began to reconstruct the destroyed in the 1990s own system of training and further education. According to the survey (within the monitoring of the economics of education, held by HSE) employers prefer to send workers for training to other companies, rather than to educational institutions.

A new look at the problem of adaptation of students at the threshold of a professional career is brought by a scientific project «Educational strategies Russian students at the stage of entering the labour market: Empirical Studies» is devoted to the problem of professional self-determination of senior students at the threshold of a career [5; 222]. The study is a variant of the research of the structure of students' visualizations of the aims of higher education and the requirements for future work. Hypothesis, being tested during the research, of the relationship of these structures allows to identify groups of students that focus on different «sets» of representations that make up the educational strategy, and to correlate types of strategies derived from the resource potential student and his actions during the training. The empirical base for the study was data from the survey of students of higher educational institutions conducted by the Yuriy Levada Analytical Centre in 2005 as part of the project «Monitoring the economics of education». An array of data includes information  on  the  six  regions  of  Russia,  and  the  total  number  of  respondents  was  11 314  persons [5; 225, 226].

Results of the study show that «the choice of one or another education strategy is due to a number of several factors: demographic (age and sex of the respondent), economic (level of resource potential of the family), behavioral (actions of the student during the training), and institutional (type and status of the university, specialty received)...The main factors affecting the choice of educational strategy, as per authors’ opinion, are economic capital of the family, which can act more confidently in education; gender of the respondent («male» and «female» strategy are distinguished); and the extent of its activity, namely the level of achievement in high school; presence of a job during training and ongoing communication with the resulting specialty. Various institutional settings, such as: the type and status of the university, the chosen specialty play quite a significant role» [5; 237].

Authors suggested, as one of the hypotheses, that «there was a link between the type of institution in which the student studies, specialty being studied and the choice of strategy. It should be noted that in most cases each type of institution or specialty can be associated with a particular type of strategy. In particular, students from regional universities are building a strategy with a clear vision: they start thinking of a career earlier and can set our priorities rather students Muscovites... The main interest in the future employment is the career development, and only then the professional one. In educational process, in its turn, there is a struggle between the need for obtaining a wide range of professional knowledge and investment in basic skills. More than half of the strategies include the need for possessing the basic skills which is an obvious requirement of the labor market on the one hand...» [5; 238].

One should also highlight the project «Monitoring of educational and employment paths of schools and universities» (NRU HSE). This project is designed as a longitudinal study of generation (cohort panel), and its main objectives were to find, analyze and understand the key factors that impact on young people in the transition moments of their backgrounds — in the process of selecting a school, work, new life strategies. The research carried out in three-year cycles. This scheme allows one to monitor the changes taking place within the selected groups over the years. The first measurement was implemented in 2009, and there were interviewed students of the 9th grade of high schools and graduate students of higher education. In the second phase (3 years after) pupils become students, and then enter the labour market, students turn into young professionals. Thus, tracked the destinies of those who are working, continue learning, changing profession, etc. The authors bring order into the factors that stipulate the selection and modification of educational and employment paths, by making the hierarchy of contexts — from «family» (microcontext) to the socioeconomic (macrocontext) — realization of an individual path [6].

Today, by stating a number of changes that allowed the door of educational institutions to be opened wider for people from many community groups, researchers fix a new problem: unemployment among the educated. In what way has the direction of scientific research in the field of sociology of education changed? What can it offer for solutions to new problems? Some authors seek to deepen the sociological analysis of the situation in the education sector, to trace the dynamics of the relationship between education and society over a longer period.

However, another important feature is the fact that a considerable number of studies has appeared in the recent years, which states the early transition of young people from a state of inactivity in a state of economic activity. A significant increase in student employment is revealed not only in Russia but also in Western countries. For example, the proportion of working students in the age group of 16 to 24 years in the U.S., according to the study of S.Riggert, M.Boyle, J.Petrosko, D.Ash, C.Rude-Parkins (2006), is about 50 %. In France, a similar figure is around 48 % and in the Netherlands about 77 %, according to the work of I.Hakkinen (2004). According to the study Apokina A. and M.Yudkevich (2008), based on data from monitoring the economics of education, about 46 % of students enrolled in higher education institutions have work place in the Russian labour market. The process of transition of youth from school to work is analyzed by Kartseva M. (2002), K.Markov and S.Roschin (2004), F.Pfeiffer and K.Reub (2006) and others [7].

Commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation there was held a monitoring to study the relationship of training and the needs for the labour market, which showed that in 2011 the country's universities have released twice as many graduates of humanities and 3.5 times more economists and managers than it will be necessary to labour market. At the same time, metallurgists, mechanical engineers, specialists in metal produced were half as much as the country's economy will need [8].

A study will be completed of the international program Assessment of Adult Competencies in Russia — PIACC (The Programme for the International Assessment for Adult Competencies) will be completed in 2013, which was developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). On the Russian side, the program coordinates the Higher School of Economics, the project is coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Science of the RF. The essence of the program is to assess how adults are competent in key areas (the overall level of literacy, math skills and problem solving skills to problems and situations), and comparing these figures with the results of other countries. Students and graduates, in turn, are evaluated for «professional competence» by testing in vocational subjects and in social issues. It is assumed that the results of the study will be a unique resource for the development of more effective educational and employment policy and employment itself [9].

According to Russian studies the increase in the number of young people with a degree in the labour market has led to the fact that degree is regarded by employers as self-evident feature. The market reacts to the increasing labour supply of graduates and requires experience in hiring. Educational signal is perceived in close connection with the performance of work experience. The process of an earlier start to work, even while studying, is developing in response to these changes.

The most well-known researches aimed at analysis of educational policies in the countries of Western Europe are projects such as the «Longitudinal study of young people in England» (LSYPE, England, 2004). The essential problems that the British youth have during the period of study, as well as on the stage of entering the labour market were considered in the project. Their attitudes toward school, education, and educational needs were studied as well [10].

Longitudinal project «Youth Study» (The Youth Cohort Study, YCS) was conducted in 2000–2002 in Canada [11]. This study was designed to study «cohort» of young people after receiving school education. The aim of the study was to study the experience of the labour market, and major life transitions related to education, training and work.

Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Education there was conducted a study aimed at the analysis of global trends in the relationship between higher education and the labour market [12]. The aim of this project was to identify initiatives, policy approaches and instruments in foreign countries, which could be useful for Dutch higher education.

There is a monitoring of the relationship between higher education and the labour market held in the UK systematically. For many years the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education surveys conducts a survey among graduates (within 3 months after graduation, and after over 35 months). Also there are conducted such researches as National Employer Skills survey and Employer Perspective Survey which is aimed to ask the employers' expectations of higher education. There is also the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which is the official agency that collects statistics on the employment of college graduates.

To understand the policy of the United Kingdom in the field of higher education and the labour market is the most significant thing is Leitch Review of Skills. Commissioned by the British government, a report named Leitch Review of Skills was submitted in 2004 under the direction of the chairman of the National Employment Panel Lord S.Leitch [13]. This report focuses on the far-reaching reforms for the UK to become the world leader in skills by 2020. It identified the main contours of British education until 2020, which contribute to economic growth, productivity and social justice, and there was set out the balance of responsibility for achieving the skills and discussed the policy framework needed to support it.The report states that since 1945, there is a number of debates about the fact that the government should regulate the increase of investments made by employers into the training. They offer a new approach to partnership. The government, employers and individuals are posed against particular goals. So, the government should invest more money by paying special attention to the least skilled workers, and be ready to act on market failures. Employers should increase their investment in skills to improve performance. And the citizens must invest more in developing their own skills and abilities.

France has developed system of monitoring the transition of graduates to work. Centre Centre for Studies and Research on Qualifications (CEREQ) (CEREQ) the central organization that provides the information about the labour market at all levels. Reports of the center are an important source for the policy in the field of higher education at the national and regional level and to AERES — National Agency for the evaluation of accreditation of university programs [12].

In the framework of the «Longitudinal studies of young people in England and Wales» (The Youth Cohort Study of England and Wale, YCS, 1985 and 2010) there was a study of the behavior of young people over 16 years old associated with the transition from compulsory education to tertiary and higher education from the exit the labor market [14]. The main objective of the study was to identify factors that influence these transitions.

«The large-scale national study of education: vocational training and lifelong learning» (National Educational Panel Study: Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning) is held in Germany [15]. This is a largescale project, in which framework there are is polling 60 thousand children, teen-agers and adults at the present. Data about the studying, training and education outcomes throughout life will be collected within this project.

A great experience in research of education and the labour market has been gained in the United States. Thus, an independent research company Evollution notes that, despite the existence of 9.3 million unemployed Americans, there is a lack of 7 million skilled workers (2010), and this lack, in researchers opinion, will be increased to 21 million by 2020 year [16]. This company conducted interviews with 200 employers in North America, ranging from medium-sized companies with approximately 250 employees to large companies with more than 100,000 employees based in the United States (166) and Canada (34). The study was aimed to clarify the outlooks and opinions of employers in relation to lifelong learning and higher education in terms of significant changes in the structure of unemployment. The main research questions were as follows: What employees need to do to move forward? How employees will be rewarded for their efforts in the field of education? How employee’s training effects the company and society in general? The results showed that 70 % of employers believe that employees need continuous training in order to keep pace with increasing demands.

EvoLLLution concluded that employers must take measures so that their employees will have access to continuing education. The growing demand for continuing education is reflected in data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). According to the group, the number of adults among students enrolled has increased by 43 % overall in the last ten years. The National Center for Education Statistics predicts that there will be an increase by 23 % the number of adult degree-granted students and only 9 % of the students of «traditional» age [16]. The researchers concluded that formal training does not stop with the entry of students into the working environment. Continuing education is an integral part of the success of the employee, the company and society as a whole. The most successful employees will continue learning  throughout life. Educational institutions must be prepared to work closely with corporate clients to meet the needs of adult learners in the professional life stages.

Longitudinal studies are required to investigate the relationship between educational career and entry into the labour market. M.Veys researcher uses data from two studies — (West-) German Life History Study (GLHS, Max Planck Institute for Human Development 2004) and the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 (US Department of Labor 2008) [17]. In a study of German scientists there were interviewed representatives of the cohorts born in 1964 and 1971 (both cohorts were interviewed in 1998 and born in 1971 were reinterviewed in 2004). In the U.S. study, there are 12,686 cases since the polls in 1979 with respondents who were 14 to 22 years old. Since 1994 these surveys were conducted two times a year. M.Veys concludes that empirical studies have shown dissimilarity of models of transition from school to work in Germany and the USA. The entry of young people into the labour market in the U.S. is less standardized and they can reenter the university after gaining some professional experience.

Analytical review of the carried out monitoring and longitudinal studies shows the need to implement the following strategies: higher education must actively use the methods and ideas from the world of work to actually improve the quality of training and the degree of learning outcomes. Students should be treated as young employees of companies. From the first course a student should be treated as a member of the team of scientists, teach him to work for results, encourage him to work for results, which may be a course paper, a research report or magazine article [18].

Exploring the world research experience on issues of education, educational strategies, implementation of European principles in the modern educational environment not only provides an opportunity to understand the problems of modern education abroad, but also promotes the use of its experience. A review of studies shows that extensive experience in the study of educational issues is collected overseas and this review is characterized by the vastness of the topics addressed, and the presence of longitudinal and crosscountry comparative projects. Research projects are carried out by both state and non-state organizations and they are also interdisciplinary. The presence of extensive and long-term research experience indicates to the importance of education in today's society.



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Year: 2014
City: Karaganda
Category: Sociology