Bamberg sociology professor: “education and training are more worthwhile than ever”

Bamberg sociology professor:

At 28. Experts discuss the question of "master's or master's" at the university of bamberg in june? Educational paths in times of academic glut and shortage of skilled workers" (5 p.M., auditorium in the dominikanerstrabe). Hans-peter blossfeld, professor of sociology at the university of bamberg, will also be on the podium. The 64-year-old education researcher built up the national education panel (NEPS) in bamberg, published 35 books and more than 240 essays, and most recently, together with professor rolf becker of the university of berne, evaluated job entry and career processes over the last four decades.

Master or master, what do you advise?

Hans-peter blossfeld: you can't give general advice, because people are too different. I can only say this: in a study in which we looked at the long-term development of the career opportunities of people with different qualifications over the last 40 years, it was shown that the effort for education and training is worthwhile today more than ever before. There is a theory that the expansion of education brings more and more highly qualified people to the labor market, creating a surplus. In the scientific field, this thesis is called "education as a positional good" and means that whenever the number of applicants with a higher qualification increases, the yields of this education, i.E. The attainable income and the professional successes, decrease.

Is this thesis empirically correct?

No. We see that each highly educated generation enters the labor market in better and better jobs and then also makes steeper and steeper careers. This means that the structure of the employment system is changing rapidly. New more qualified positions are constantly being added and the requirements of many existing professional positions are also increasing. Our research shows the opposite of what many claim. The highly qualified do not receive less for their educational investments, but rather more and more.


What is the reason for this??

Younger people are not only better educated and better trained, but they are also more likely to enter the new, more promising occupations that are constantly being created as a result of structural change. On the other hand, the elderly who retire often leave professional fields that are no longer needed and are then eliminated. In this respect, it can be said that the expansion of education and the change in occupational structure are moving in the same direction and even complement each other very well for each new generation.

What role does origin play??

Even today, a larger proportion of those who obtain higher educational qualifications come from more privileged families. Children from lower social classes still find it more difficult to obtain higher school-leaving qualifications.

What is the connection??

This is partly because they do not have the cognitive skills that are valued in school in the same way as middle-class children. For example, they read aloud more often and take their children to the theater or the opera. The importance of children's education is therefore placed much more strongly at the center of everyday life in these families.

Has educational inequality increased??

No, it hasn't, but it hasn't decreased significantly either. Even if the education system is expanded and a lot is demanded, this usually has no major structural effect. If you look at children who have roughly the same level of competence, then in the higher social classes it is clear that the children go to gymnasium, while in the less educated families it is often an open question, even if the children do well in school and could make it to higher school.

Social advancement through education remains difficult?

There is still a lot of room for improvement. Although there are attempts today to place children in preschool institutions at an early age, where they are not only kept in custody, but are also challenged. However, our studies also show that the impact of these measures is more limited than many would hope. The children from the lower social classes benefit, but the children from the higher social classes often benefit even more. Firstly because they go more often to early childhood institutions, and secondly because they then attend the institutions with better quality.

Inequality is increasing?

Inequality is not increasing in the education system, but as a result of the interaction of educational expansion and structural change in the workplace. The interplay of more education and increasingly better jobs means that the highly qualified and also the more qualified get better and better professional positions from generation to generation, while the unskilled at the bottom receive less and less for their work. This is one of the main effects for the widening of the inequality structure. A second reason for growing inequality between families is the change in women's employment. Also due to high rents, many families nowadays seem to need two earners. This creates a growing disparity in income and living standards with single-income families.

What about the unskilled?

The share of unskilled workers initially decreases significantly during the educational expansion. We can say that this is a major success of education policy. The proportion of unskilled workers per generation is well below ten percent, although the proportion is now slightly higher for men than for women. Quantitatively, the unskilled problem is decreasing, but it is becoming more and more concentrated in certain groups of origin. Children from qualified or highly qualified parents are not to be found there today. And what's more, companies are rationalizing more and more. This is best done where the work is easy. That is, in the structural change, the unskilled positions have decreased more than the proportion of unskilled in he educational expansion. This is leading to growing competitive pressure and wage competition among unskilled workers.

Education and training thus protect against dismissal?

Education not only increases the chance of a well-paid job, but also protects against dismissal. Education thus protects against unemployment. In this respect, the process of expanding education is also very positive from this perspective.

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