ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Creating the initial vocational qualification from the German microcensus

Tobias Maier, Robert Helmrich

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 5 - Law Building, Room 020
Date: 2012-07-10 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-19


After secondary education, school leavers generally specialize to compete on the labor market. This specific knowledge can be obtained through apprenticeship (vocational education and training) or higher education. This initial vocational qualification or trained occupation is supposed to have a high impact on further career paths of individuals in countries with a high degree of formalization in the education and training system, like Germany. However, in the German case, it is hard to find large data sources that measure the initial vocational qualification for all qualification levels (ISCED 3b-6) in conjunction with other socio-demographic variables.
The official representative statistic on the population's economic and social conditions, the labor market and education, the German microcensus, covers about 390,000 households (1% of all households in Germany) with 830,000 individuals on an annual basis. Yet, the sample only contained a question asking for the major field of study of academics since the year 2000. In the survey year 2004, the question was expanded and everybody was asked now to specify the major field of study - regardless the qualification level. Although the results are not for public use, the Federal Statistical Office permitted the Institute for Vocational Training and Education (BIBB) to use this additional information to reconstruct the 'initial vocational qualification' for everybody with a qualification equal and higher to ISCED 3b.
Since 2005 the BIBB has now exclusive information on the 'initial vocational qualification' by heuristically combining the major field of study, the qualification level achieved and the occupation exercised. On the level of the occupation exercised, we conducted a cluster analysis for the 3-digit occupational classifications of the National Classification of Occupations 1992 (KldB 1992) on basis of the main focus of activity. To avoid misclassification in the major field of study and to solve sampling problems occurring for minor represented occupations we classified the initial vocational qualification into one of those 54 Occupational Fields obtained from the cluster analysis. This procedure emphasizes the employability of each individual because it connects the ability to fulfill certain tasks with the specialization during vocational education.
The presentation will demonstrate the method of creating the initial vocational qualification, it will illustrate the idea behind clustering occupations according to their main focus of activity and it will show how this method could be used for other countries carrying out the Labor Force Survey.

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