Press release

Occupational advancement with VET—men at a clear advantage

New BIBB REPORT is published

07/2019 | Bonn, 19.02.2019

The results of a current analysis conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) entitled “Occupational advancement via under qualification—a comparison between men and women who have completed dual training” show that around eleven percent of skilled workers in Germany who have completed dual vocational education and training carry out higher level tasks for which a higher qualification is typically required. A qualified sales assistant for retail services may, for example, work as a branch manager. A vehicle mechatronics technician may be employed as Head of Production. Such skilled workers have achieved occupational advancement without being in possession of a higher level formal qualification. They achieve a better income than those who have completed vocational education and training and are employed in line with their qualification.

The BIBB analysis shows that men (13 percent) are more likely than women (7 percent) to achieve such occupational advancement and that certain training occupations offer particularly good chances of advancement. These include occupations in IT and the natural sciences, commercial and company-related service sector occupations such as information technology specialist, wholesale and retail assistants, industrial clerks and bank clerks, and manufacturing occupations in the fields of mechatronics, energy, and electrical engineering.

The vast majority of those employed in tasks for which they are underqualified believe that they are able to cope with the requirements placed on them. This leads the BIBB experts to conclude that such persons overwhelmingly possess the specialist knowledge and skills necessary to fulfil their job assignments. The analysis makes it clear that dual vocational education and training is not an occupational cul-de-sac. Persons who have completed vocational education and training but who have not progressed to advanced training are not entirely excluded from performing higher level tasks for which upgrading training such as a master craftsman or certified senior clerk qualification is usually required.

BIBB President Friedrich Hubert Esser believes that the digital shift will shape the world of work of the future as new tasks and changed competences emerge. “This shift may strengthen the trend towards the exercising of higher level tasks because the occupational skills in demand on the labour market will change faster than the qualification structure of the labour supply. The results show that those with vocational qualifications are also able to carry out more complex tasks and are already adaptable enough in today’s world of work to take account of these requirements.”

The BIBB analysis is based on data from the 2018 Labour Force Survey, a representative sampling of around 20,000 workers in Germany conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA). The analysis only includes employees whose highest qualification is dual vocational education and training.

Further information is available in the latest issue of BIBB REPORT 1/2019 “Occupational advancement via underqualification—a comparison between men and women who have completed dual training”. This publication is available for download free of charge on the BIBB website at www.bibb.de/bibbreport (German only).

Specimen copy requested if printed.