Press release

School marks, work attitude and social behaviour are all important

BIBB analysis – how companies select their trainees

38/2017 | Bonn, 19.10.2017

What requirements do companies make of applicants who hold an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate? A company survey conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) in conjunction with the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) shows that school marks, evaluations of social behaviour and days of unauthorised absence all influence the way in which an applicant is assessed regardless of the recruitment situation. At the same time, it is apparent that companies with recruitment difficulties are slightly more likely than companies in a more favourable situation to consider applicants with poorer performance characteristics for the next stage of the selection process.

The study involved presenting companies with fictitious profiles of training place applicants and asking them how likely it was that these applicants would be considered for inclusion in the subsequent recruitment procedure. This produced the following results in particular:

  • In the case of the most significant group of training applicants, i.e. young people in possession of an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate, school performance in the form of marks achieved, work attitude and social behaviour (days of unauthorised absence and general conduct) were important applicant selection criteria for the companies surveyed.
  • If companies find themselves in a difficult recruitment situation because of a lack of demand for the training places on offer, they are in all cases more likely to include applicants with both good and poorer prerequisites in the next stage of the selection process.
  • The results do not, however, reveal that companies facing such difficult situations are fundamentally prepared to lower their selection criteria by inviting applicants for an interview or aptitude test regardless of school performance.
  • The companies clearly believe that such criteria are indispensable for successful completion of company-based training, even if there are problems on the training places market. The study therefore goes some way towards explaining why the number of training places remaining vacant is still high.

BIBB President Professor Friedrich Hubert Esser is therefore appealing to both sides. “All those involved should think back to the start of their own careers, visualise the skills and knowledge they had when they embarked upon working life and recall how they needed to gather experience and build up professional competences over the course of time. Companies should give more young people the opportunity to present their personal attributes.” Professor Esser also believes that there are circumstances in which young people could display more regional mobility. “Applicants have better chances of progressing within a selection procedure if they are willing to consider regions in which companies are desperately seeking trainees,” he continued. “We need to continue to focus on supporting companies with the provision of training via programmes such as ‘Assisted Training’,” the BIBB President also stressed.

From the point of view of the WZB’s Director Professor Heike Solga, the results show that there are no absolute set requirements with regard to training and that companies in difficult situations are always prepared to consider poorer applicants. “More use should be made of this flexibility in order to open up vacancies to young people seeking a training place,” said Professor Solga.

The study was conducted as part of the “BIBB Establishment Panel on Training and Competence Development (BIBB Training Panel)” and surveyed over 500 companies on the basis of just under 3,000 fictitious training place applicant profiles.

“What requirements do companies make of future trainees who hold an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate?” This issue is available for download free of charge on the BIBB website at www.bibb.de/bibbreport (German only).

Contact partner at BIBB:
Press Staff Department, e-mail: pr@bibb.de

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