Advanced Vocational Education and Training or Higher Education Bachelor Degrees – What Is the Preferred Choice in Recruiting Project Leaders for Employers in Germany?

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Tobias MAIER, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Germany
Since the Bologna reforms, we see a strong increase of students in higher education and at the same time a reducing number of pupils in the highly standardized system of vocational education and training (VET) in Germany. Apprentices in the VET system receive to an equal part training in vocational schools and within an establishment with which they sign an apprenticeship contract. After the apprenticeship they can further participate in advanced educational training programs (ISCED 6) to gain a master-craftsmen- or technician degree (regulated on (federal) state or regional level) to fulfill higher skilled tasks or manage people in the production process.

Persons with a bachelor degree also have an ISCED 6 qualification level. However, the study content of a bachelor-program is solely decided by the corresponding university (of applied science) and due to a missing practical focus and no employment contract with an establishment, students have less occupation specific work experience by the time they acquire their certificate and they also have no access to the internal labor market. An increasing amount of younger people therefore enroll in study programs in universities of applied science, which offer bachelor degrees organized by the principle of the VET-system, with a large amount of time spent in companies.

In my paper, I will present a choice experiment, conducted with managers in establishments, where they have to choose between three candidates to be leader of a larger project. In the experiment, I vary the degree (advanced VET, Bachelor degree with practical experience), location of training, grades, location of work experience and subject of specialization. I can show that establishments see a larger utility in choosing persons with advanced VET-degrees due to their clear signal, whereas they ascribe persons with bachelor degrees the same utility values only if they trained them within their company.