University dropouts are carrying the stigma of having failed. It is commonly assumed that they have reduced employment and job opportunities. However, until now it is barely known how employers evaluate university dropouts. Thus, our knowledge about the individual ramifications of a university dropout is limited. Furthermore, it has been rarely taken into consideration that according to the specific career entry – be it a vocational education and training position or a direct career entry – different competitive situations may arise in comparison to typical competitors. To evaluate the individual ramifications of a university dropout, comparisons with similar persons without a dropout experience are indispensable. This is where our project comes in. Based on anonymised data collections we aim to answer the following research questions: First, what are the causal effects of a university dropout on the employment prospects in the German apprenticeship market, the skilled employee market, and the job market for university graduates? Second, which mechanisms can explain the expected differences regarding the employment opportunities of persons with and without university dropout? Third, which factors facilitate labour market entry for university dropouts? The results of this project provide evidence on the consequences of a university dropout in relation to typical reference groups with more linear educational trajectories. Findings from this project can inform students and career counselling, because they provide indications such as how to optimise labour market entries in case of an imminent university dropout.
Data type: Primary data collection