5th Céreq biennial

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20 years of the Génération surveys

The theme of the 5th Céreq biennial conference on training and employment will be “The school-to-work transition of young people over the last 20 years: continuity and change". The proceedings will draw principally on 20 years of the Génération surveys. These surveys, launched in the 1990s, constitute a system for tracking young people's career trajectories and take account of the multiplicity of factors that influence the education-to-work transition. At this biennial event, young people's transitions will be approached from the following angles in particular:

     What have been the main developments in young people's education-to-work transition? With regard to their background, level of qualifications, gender, etc.? What happens to young people with lower secondary qualifications only?

   Has the vocationalisation of higher education led to improvements in young people's career trajectories?

The biennial conference will take place on Thursday, 7 December 2017 at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. Those interested in attending can register at the following address:


See also the last Training & Employment on access to employment in 2016 for the young people of the 2013 cohort.




Introduction and presentation of some major indicators from 20 years of the Génération surveys

Speakers: Florence CORDIER, chair of Céreq's Board of Governors; Valentine HENRARD, former head of the Transition into Work and Occupational Trajectories Department at Céreq (DEEVA).

The education-to-work transition: a much debated but robust notion

Speaker: José ROSE,  emeritus professor of sociology at Aix-Marseille University

The notion of the school-to-work transition gradually became established from the 1970s onwards against the background of changes in the labour market and the relationships between schools and companies. The notion subsequently became an object of debate, which did not prevent it from coming into use in the sphere of public action. Some authors have attempted to define the notion more precisely, while others have proposed alternatives. Each stage of the transition the initial stage, the final stage and the intermediate period raises theoretical and methodological questions, all the more so since the conditions under which young labour market entrants are trained and access employment have changed considerably in recent years. An illustration will serve to retrace the main ways of conceptualising the relationships between education/training and employment and how they have succeeded each other over time.

Twenty years of youth employment policies: continuities and changes

Speaker: Nicolas FARVAQUE, socio-economist, ORSEU

In this paper we review the main strands of youth employment policy over the period 1992-2015, which corresponds to the observation period of the Génération' surveys. The period under investigation bears witness to the successive strategies adopted with a view to reducing youth employment and facilitating the education-to-work transition.  The continuities and changes in public action are analysed through the lens of three constituent elements of youth employment policy: block release programmes, the introduction of subsidised jobs for young people and the role of labour market intermediaries.

From access to employment to the relationship to work

The first steps in the world of work: have early careers become more difficult and unstable?

Speaker: Virginie MORA, research officer at Céreq.

Most of the indicators show that the conditions under which young people first enter the labour market have generally deteriorated over 20 years. It has become more difficult to access employment and to stay in a job. And when stability in employment is achieved, it is now more likely that it will take the form of a lengthy succession of fixed-term contracts. Nevertheless, we should take care not to be misled into believing that all aspects of job quality have declined for young people. In particular, the level of qualification required for jobs has gone up, part-time employment has not gained ground and the bottom of the wages structure has risen considerably. These changes in the conditions under which young people transition into work have not followed a continuous, uniform path over 20 years, which suggests they should not necessarily be regarded as structural. In particular, they have not affected all young people in the same way. The differences between labour market entrants, particularly with regard to qualifications and social origin, have increased further.

From job quality' to young people's relationship to work: some paradoxical developments

Speakers: Elise VERLEY, sociologist, Groupe d'Etude des Méthodes de l'Analyse Sociologique de la Sorbonne (GEMASS), University of Paris-Sorbonne; Estelle BONNET, sociologist, Centre Max Weber, University of Lyon 2.

Several conclusions can be drawn from an examination of the relationship to work of young people in two cohorts studied at an interval of 18 years. While employment conditions have deteriorated over the past 20 years, with an increase in unstable' jobs for young labour market entrants (increase in temporary jobs), long-term excess youth unemployment and chronic instability in the early stages of the working life, young people's subjective opinions of their situation and their trajectories have, on the other hand, improved.


Young people and inequality

Young people without qualifications: what has changed in 20 years?

Speakers: Pascale ROUAUD, Dominique MAILLARD, research officers at Céreq.

While the fight against early school leaving has been a major challenge for public policies for a good 20 years, the question of young people without qualifications is still both a worrying social reality and a necessary object of investigation. This paper considers the changes that have taken place over the period 1992-2015. Although, compared to other young people leaving the education system, those without qualifications have specific characteristics arising from their social and educational backgrounds and affecting their transition into employment, this population cannot be considered as a homogeneous entity. A typology of socio-occupational trajectories constructed on the basis of all the Génération surveys will reveal the heterogeneity of their trajectories.

Access to employment for young people with migrant backgrounds: what changes, what realities?

Speaker: Jean-Luc PRIMON, sociologist, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

Céreq played a pioneering role in investigating the situation of young people with migrant backgrounds in the early stages of their working lives. As early as 1991, questions on parents' country of birth were asked in the form sent to a panel of young people who had left secondary education at the end of the 1980s. These data reveal the difficulties in making the education-to-work transition encountered by young people of North African origin, in comparison both with young people without any direct migrant background (French by origin or descendants of native French) and the young descendants of immigrant parents from a Southern European country. Twenty years after the first Génération survey, what can comparison of the various results of the surveys teach us? Are the difficulties observed in the past still with us today?

The impact of the reforms of the education system

The effects of the reform on the early careers of young holders of vocational baccalaureates

Speakers: Valérie ILARDI, Emmanuel SULZER, research officers at Céreq.

The 2016 survey of the 2013 cohort enables us for the first time to observe the entry into the labour market of young holders of the new three-year vocational baccalaureate. This reform profoundly changed the structure of secondary vocational education: most programmes now lead to level IV qualifications and are producing more young people leaving education with the baccalaureate. These leavers are also younger and are less likely to have obtained their baccalaureate through block-release programmes. In an economic situation that remains difficult, what kind of welcome are these holders of the new style' baccalaureate, and those who did not pursue their education beyond the level V CAP, receiving in the labour market? Answers are awaited to these questions that underlie the 2009 reform of the vocational pathway.

Do apprenticeships always ease the education-to-work transition?

Speakers: Marie-Hélène TOUTIN, Céreq research officer at the Centre Lillois d'Etudes et de Recherches Sociologiques et Economiques (CLERSE).

According to their advocates, the virtues of apprenticeships are twofold: they provide certified vocational training responding directly to firms' needs and they enable young people, even those who find it difficult to acquire the formal knowledge taught in the traditional education/training system, to find permanent employment quickly. What is the situation in reality? What are the effects of apprenticeships on young people's education-to-work transition?

The vocationalisation of higher education: what effects on the students' education-to-work transition?

Speakers: Julien CALMAND, research officer at Céreq, Philippe LEMISTRE, research officer at Céreq and deputy director of the Centre d'Etude et de Recherche Travail, Organisation, Pouvoir (CERTOP, CNRS-Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès).

This year, 2017, marks the tenth anniversary of the Act on the Freedoms and Responsibilities of Universities (la loi relative aux libertés et responsabilités des universities, known as the LRU) which, among other things, made the universities responsible for improving students' employability and was part of a process of vocationalisation in higher education that has now been going on for 60 years. Vocationalisation is the key element of the reforms implemented in universities and other higher education establishment in recent years. How has the vocationalisation of initial education gradually changed students' educational trajectories and the content of higher education curricula? What effects have the reforms had on young people's education-to-work transition?

Conclusion and presentation of the book:

"20 ans d'insertion professionnelle: permanences et évolutions" (Twenty years of the education-to-work transition: continuities and changes)
Speaker: Emmanuel QUENSON, Former Director of Research at Céreq.