EMPLOYMENT Working Paper No. 253

Youth transitions and lifetime trajectory

Young persons go through diverse transitions between the ages of 15 and 29. In this paper, the authors explore patterns of reproductive, educational and school to work transitions using data from the ILO School-to-work transitions surveys mainly from low and middle income countries. They find that these transitions are highly interrelated and have important consequences for future pathways or trajectories. The paper also explores specific transitions with conclusions as follows: First, the reproductive transitions (having children) affects more women than men. Second, 86% of those that stopped studying, either because they dropped out or they have completed their educational transition, have only basic education. Third, the age of starting a first job seem to have significant impact on future labor market prospects as those who started working before 18 are more likely to stay in informal and low-skilled jobs. Youth employment policy design can incorporate these findings with interventions that target the multiple transitions in an integrated manner while promoting youth participation with the understanding that the relative weight of each transition depends on contextual and personal characteristics.