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School-to-Work Project

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

“Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria” is a funded bi-national research project that includes lead experts from the University of Basel (Switzerland) and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia (Bulgaria). 

The transformation of the Bulgarian labour market from state socialism to market capitalism has had a strong impact on the school-to-work transition of young adults. Young people’s passages from education to employment have become uncertain. Today, many graduates risk not gaining ground in the labour market and facing social exclusion in Bulgaria. In particular, little is known how regional labour and educational opportunities impact ethnic and gender disparities in school-to-work transitions. 

The research project aims at better understanding the mechanisms behind educational (un)success and school-to-work transition in contemporary Bulgaria, including social and ethnic inequalities as well as the relatively low gender segregation of these transitions. A nationally representative school-leaver survey for Bulgaria will provide detailed data about pathways that lead young women and men from different social and ethnic backgrounds along different educational tracks to different positions in the labour market. 

ACTIVITIES AND OUTPUT DURING FIRST PROJECT YEAR

Survey Preparation 

The development of the survey instrument for a nationally representative school-leaver survey for Bulgaria was a key objective that was achieved this first project year. More than 170 questions were developed for the retrospective school-leavers and labour market entry survey. This survey will identify young people’s pathways along different educational tracks to different positions in the labour market. Particular attention was paid to the operationalization of educational variables in the Bulgarian context, in consultation with the Ministry of Education. Similarly labour market outcomes variables and relevant socio-demographic characteristics were carefully drafted to suit the local contexts and diverse pathways of respondents. 

Data Analysis

Data analysis during this first year was focused on existing secondary data sources as our own data from the retroactive school leavers survey will become available in the second project year. Team members have secured access and conducted analysis with the following main datasets: Gender and Generation Survey, Labour Force Survey, European Value Survey, European Social Survey, Eurostudent. Furthermore, we obtained project relevant labour market statistics from the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute. Based on these data (from the 2011 Bulgarian Census and the three waves of the Bulgarian Labour Force Survey) we were able to code 400 occupations (based on the Bulgarian classifications of occupations) on their gender composition. The occupational codes will be used in the comparative analysis and in studying gender dynamics in school to work transitions. 

In this first year of the project, several important national and international collaborations have emerged.

Data Partners and Collaborations

• Vitosha Research (collaboration in the development and translation of the questionnaire, sampling strategies, pilot study and the planning and implementation of the survey). 

• Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (labour market statistics from the Bulgarian Census and the Labour Force Surveys) 

• EUROSTAT (EU-SILC and EU-LFS) 

• Bulgarian Ministries of Labour & Social Policy, Economics, and Education 

• Bulgarian Embassy in Switzerland 

Research Output by Project Team Members

• “Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education: Bulgaria in a comparative perspective.” Ilieva-Trichkova P. and P. Boyadjieva (forthcoming, European Journal of Higher Education) 

• “Horizontalna segregacia po pol na rabotnite mesta – sledstvia za stratifikaciata.” (Horizontal Segregation of Jobs - Consequences for Stratification) Stoilova, R. (forthcoming, Sociological Problems) 

• “Education Systems and Gender Stratification in Bulgaria.” Bieri, F.; Imdorf, Ch., Stoilova, R., and P. Boyadjieva. (under review) 

• (Bieri, F.; Imdorf, Ch., Stoilova, R., and P. Boyadjieva) Career Orientations, Education Systems and Gendered School-to-Work Transition Conference. (organized by University of Basel’s Institute for Sociology and Center for Gender Studies). University of Basel, Switzerland. November 23-24, 2012. 

• “Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education: Bulgaria in a comparative perspective” (Ilieva-Trichkova, P. and P. Boyadjieva) European Social Survey Conference, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus November 23-25, 2012. 

• “Higher education and social trust: a European comparative perspective” (Boyadjieva P. and P. Ilieva-Trichkova) International Symposium on Comparative Sciences, Inaugural Session, Sofia, Bulgaria, 8-11 October, 2013. 

• “Higher Education and Well-Being: Educational inequalities and trust in a comparative perspective” (Boyadjieva P. and P. Ilieva-Trichkova) CHER Lausanne, Switzerland September 9-11, 2013. 

• “Does expansion and greater equity in higher education mean worse employability? A comparative perspective” (Ilieva-Trichkova, P. and P. Boyadjieva) EAIR Forum Rotterdam, the Netherlands August 28-31, 2013. 

These papers have treated two of the three research aims in this study: a. the aim at better understanding the mechanisms behind educational (un)success and school-to-work transition in contemporary Bulgaria; and b. the social and ethnic inequalities as well as the low gender segregation of these transitions. 

For further information, please visit the project webpage.