Representations of Desirability and Accessibility of Jobs in the Transition to Vocational Training in Switzerland

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: F203
Distributed Paper
Dinah GROSS , Life Course and Social Inequality Research Centre (LINES), University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Transition to vocational training in Switzerland is still characterized by social inequalities, in particular in terms of gender, social origin and nationality. In this paper I wish to explore how the theory of social representations can help us understand the way in which young people still in obligatory school imagine their future job and how these representations impact their professional aspirations and choices. In particular I wish to explore how two different characteristics of an imagined job, its desirability and its accessibility, can be differently emphasized among different social groups. I will explore the factors that contribute to this different emphasis, in particular the consequences of belief/disbelief in the possibility of social mobility, of degree of self-confidence, of school results and of the representation of how difficult the studies to access a particular profession are, on evaluations of accessibility and the consequences of representations as to social prestige of jobs, as to school and acquiring new competences, as to parent expectations and as to gender roles, on evaluations of desirability. This research is based on a dataset that was gathered from over 3000 13-15 year-olds in five Swiss cantons in 2011.