From Education to the Labor Market in Lithuania: The Role of Youth and Parental Education

Date01 March 2020
Published date01 March 2020
ANNALS, AAPSS, 688, March 2020 155
DOI: 10.1177/0002716220908254
Education to
the Labor
Market in
Lithuania: The
Role of
Youth and
908254ANN The Annals of the American AcademyFrom Education to the Labor Market in Lithuania
This article examines how the education of youth and
parents influences the transition of youth from school-
ing to the labor market. I use a representative survey of
youth aged 16 to 29 (N = 1,590) in Lithuania in 2013
to create an analysis that yields estimates of the influ-
ence of family education on factors such as youth
employment, obstacles to finding a first job, and diffi-
culties in the first job. My hypothesis that youth from
families with less education have greater difficulties in
the labor market transition was confirmed. My hypoth-
esis that the higher the parents’ education, the easier it
is for young people to adapt in the first workplace was
also confirmed. Results also reveal that lower parental
education means that their children lacked general
workplace competencies, had less-decent working con-
ditions, and faced other difficulties in the labor market.
Keywords: youth; labor market; role of education;
youth transition; school-to-work transition
Shifting labor markets and prolonged educa-
tion have destabilized youth transitions
from education to the labor market. Economic
globalization and social transformation have
resulted in increased uncertainty about the
future of young people in the labor market
(Blossfeld et al. 2005). Social change has
affected all young people, but there are consid-
erable variations across countries, reflecting
differences in education and employment sys-
tems, as well as differences in preferences and
cultural norms (Schoon and Lyons-Amos 2016).
In many European countries, the question
of whether youth can successfully transition
from education to the labor market has been a
Ruta Braziene is chief researcher at the Lithuanian
Research Centre, Labour Market Research Institute.
She is an expert in the fields of labor market and
employment policies, labor market participation, and
employment of different groups (youth, women, elderly,
and the disabled).
central concern. Expansion of higher education and skill-based technological
progress have changed the youth labor market, and the school-to-work transition
has become more complex as clear and normative linear life trajectories no
longer characterize young people’s movement through education, work, and per-
sonal relationships (European Group for Integrated Social Research [EGRIS]
2001). Young people spend more time in education than previous generations,
and the school-to-work period in which individuals settle into the labor market
takes relatively longer.
Lithuania presents an interesting case study of youth transitions because of the
profound social, economic, and political changes that have taken place in the
country during the last decades. After regaining independence in the 1990s,
there was a complete restructuring of the educational system and the labor mar-
ket in Lithuania. The last decade in the country has been characterized by a huge
educational expansion, labor market restructure, and enormous emigration of
young people from the country.
There are myriad studies of the youth transition from school to work, and
many different ways of evaluating the quality of the school-to-work transition
have been considered in the scientific literature. Most of them focus on the first
job duration, whether the person finds a job immediately after exiting education,
or experiences of unemployment (Arum and Shavit 1995). Research on Western
and Eastern European countries has highlighted the central role of educational
qualifications for the labor market integration of youth (Kogan 2011; Müller and
Shavit 1998). Scholars often question whether education creates any labor mar-
ket advantages, that is, whether there are any positive returns to education. This
is because social ties, not education, are assumed to be the key resource that
helps not only in finding a job quickly but also in accessing good ones (Kogan
2011; Kogan, Matkovic´, and Gebel 2013). This article adds to the broader litera-
ture by providing an analysis of how household education (the education of youth
and parents) influences transitions from school to the labor market in a European
country that is undergoing transformative social and economic change.
Understanding School-to-Work Transitions
The transition from education to the labor market is one of the most important
factors that determines professional socialization and social integration (Masdonati
2010). Scientific literature presents numerous concepts of youth transition from
school to the labor market (e.g., Brzinsky-Fay 2008, 2013, 2011; International
Labour Organization [ILO] 2009; Elder 2009; Marchetti et al. 2001; Green,
Owen, and Wilson 2001). The transition from education to the labor market can
be described as having achieved the status or position in the labor market during
the relevant period of time. Most of the research on the transition from education
to the labor market defines this period as between youth exit (15–29 years old)
from the education system (acquisition of appropriate education or completed
training/study) before the first proper job search. In recent years there has been
a lot of adjustments in the definition of the first job. The most common definition

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