Inequalities in school leavers’ labour market outcomes: do school subject choices matter? Evidence from the Scottish Longitudinal Study

Duta, A. (2018) CALLS Hub conference, University of St Andrews, UK, 23 March 2018 [SLS]

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Abstract:

This study examines gender and social inequalities in school leavers’ labour market outcomes and whether the curriculum studied at school explains these inequalities in Scotland. Previous research has shown that people from more advantaged social backgrounds tend to study a larger number of academic subjects than people from less advantaged social backgrounds and this gives them an advantage when applying to enter higher education. However, there is limited evidence on whether curriculum choices may lead to differentiated labour market outcomes among young people from different social origins who do not continue to higher education. This research aims to fill this gap by examining differences in employment chances of young people who left education early, either at the end of compulsory schooling or at the end of secondary school. Using data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study, a large-scale linkage study created using data from administrative and statistical sources, we found little gender differences but strong parental background differences in school leavers’ employment status and type of occupation entered. Social inequalities in labour market outcomes were only partly explained by curriculum choices. Moreover, after taking into account social origin and grades, only History and Business for lower-secondary leavers and Maths for upper- secondary leavers were associated with a reduction in the chances of being unemployed/inactive.

Based on the paper: Iannelli, C., & Duta, A. (2018). Inequalities in school leavers’ labour market outcomes: do school subject choices matter? Oxford Review of Education, 44(1), 56-74.

Output from project: 2013_013

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