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Higher Education Dropout and Job Prospects. Experimental Studies on Access to the Labour and Vocational Education and Training Market

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2017 – 2020 and 2021 – 2024)

Project description:

University dropouts are carrying the stigma of having failed. It is commonly assumed that they have reduced employment and job opportunities. However, knowledge on how employers evaluate university dropouts is sparce, and we know little about the individual ramifications of leaving university prior to receiving a degree. 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 anonymized experimental data collections, we aim to answer the following research questions: 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? Which factors facilitate labor 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. One of the aspects we investigate during the second funding period pertains to the generalizability of our prior findings. In addition, we analyze several open questions, such as the impact of employers’ individual preferences on the hiring chances of dropouts. Findings from this project can inform students and career counselling, because they provide indications such as how to optimize labor market entries in case of an imminent university dropout.

Data type: Primary data collection

Selected project-related publications:

Neugebauer, M. & Daniel, A. (2022). Higher education non-completion, employers, and labor market integration: Experimental evidence. Social Science Research. more (ungated version available here)

Bröder, C., Daniel, A. & Neugebauer, M. (2022). Hohe Kompetenzerwartungen – bessere Einstellungschancen? Studienaussteiger*innen aus der Sicht von Ausbildungsbetrieben [High skill expectancies – better hiring prospects? The perspective of training companies on higher education dropouts]. Zeitschrift für empirische Hochschulforschung.

Neugebauer, M., Bröder, C., & Daniel, A. (2021). Studienausstieg—und dann? Der Übergang in Ausbildung und Beruf aus Sicht von Arbeitgeberinnen und Arbeitgebern. Bielefeld: wbv. more

Neugebauer, M., Daniel, H.-D., & Wolter, A. (Eds.) (2021). Studienerfolg und Studienabbruch [Academic success and higher education dropout]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. more

Neugebauer, M. & Daniel, A. (2021). Studienabbruch und Berufsaussichten: Experimentelle Studien zur Integration auf dem Arbeits- und Ausbildungsmarkt [Higher education dropout and job prospects. Experimental studies on access to the labour and vocational education and training market]. In M. Neugebauer, H.-D. Daniel & A. Wolter (Eds.), Studienerfolg und Studienabbruch. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 303-324. more

Daniel, A., Neugebauer, M., & Watermann, R. (2019). Studienabbruch und Einstellungschancen auf dem Ausbildungsmarkt: Ein faktorieller Survey mit Arbeitgeber/innen. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 22(5), 1147-1174. more

Neugebauer, M., Heublein, U., & Daniel, A. (2019). Studienabbruch in Deutschland: Ausmaß, Ursachen, Folgen, Präventionsmöglichkeiten. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 22(5), 1025-1046. more