School-to-work transition survey

What is the school-to-work transition survey?

The ILO is committed to helping governments and social partners in identifying main employment issues and in designing and implementing integrated policy responses. As part of this work, the ILO seeks to enhance the capacity of national and local level institutions to undertake evidence-based analysis that feeds social dialogue and the policy-making process. Given that: 1) current restrictions in labour market information have led to a situation in which the question of why the school-to-work transitions of young people today are a long and difficult process has not yet been satisfactorily answered; 2) significantly improving the transition is among the policy agenda priorities of a growing number of countries; and recognizing that 3) strengthening the information base is one key step toward designing and monitoring more appropriate youth employment responses, the ILO developed the school-to-work transition survey (SWTS).

The SWTS will generate a large pool of data on the characteristics and labour market attachments of young people as well as on the enterprises that could absorb them. The data in itself is not unique. What is unique is 1) the development of indicators that define the stages of transition and the quality of transition and 2) the application of “decent work” as a concept to be integrated into the analytical framework built around the SWTS.

The analytical frameworks associated with the SWTS allow the user to first assess the characteristics of youth who are still in school, employed or self-employed, unemployed or outside of the labour force for reasons other than full-time study. Then survey results are used to estimate: 1) the number of young people who have completed their transition into “decent work”; 2) those who are still in transition – that is, either unemployed or employed in a job that is non-decent or non-satisfactory; and 3) the number of young people who have not yet made the transition either because they remain in school or are outside of the labour market with no plans to work in the future.

The methodological guide

The methodological guide is intended to help anyone interested in running an ILO SWTS. The modular design means that it can be used in full – as a package to advise users from the point of conception of the project through production of an analytical report and workshop to present the findings – or in part, according to the specific needs of the user. Certain modules can be used outside the scope of the school-to-work survey; the module on sampling (Module 3), for example, can guide the design of sampling frameworks of any survey. Likewise, the module on tabulation (Module 4) contains instructions for producing standard labour market statistics, such as the unemployment rate, that researchers can use for any number of purposes, including training on labour market information and analysis.

The Guide is organized as follows:

Module 1: Basic concepts, roles and implementation process

Module 2: SWTS questionnaires

Module 3: Sampling methodology

Module 4: Key indicators of youth labour markets: Concepts, definitions and tabulations

Module 5: Disseminating survey results

See also:

M. Matsumoto and S. Elder: “Characterizing the school-to-work transition of young men and women: Evidence from the ILO school-to-work transition surveys”, ILO Employment Working Paper No. 51, Geneva, 2010. (Characterizing the school-to-work transitions of young men and women: Evidence from the ILO School-to-work transition surveys)

This thematic synthesis is based on the transition surveys that were conducted in eight countries in Asia, CIS and the Middle East between 2004 and 2006. It highlights how such data that extend beyond the scope of standard labour force surveys can both deepen and widen our understanding about youth in their transition from school to work. The report explores how well young men and women are doing in the labour market in terms of security and satisfaction and explores in some depth particular topics such as job search and recruitment methods and the earnings of young workers.

El Zanaty and Associates: “School-to-work transition: Evidence from Egypt”, Employment Policy Papers No. 2007/12 (ILO, Geneva). (School-to-work transition: Evidence from Egypt)

V. Corbanese and G. Rosas: “Young people’s transition to decent work: Evidence from Kosovo”, Employment Policy Paper 2007/4 (ILO, Geneva). (Young people’s transition to decent work : evidence from Kosovo)

F. Pastore: “School-to-work transitions in Mongolia”, Employment Working Paper 2008/14 (ILO, Geneva). (School-to-work-transitions in Mongolia )

New Era: “School-to-work transition: Evidence from Nepal”, Employment Sector Paper 2008/10 (ILO, Geneva). (School-to-work transition : evidence from Nepal)

S. Alissa: “The school-to-work transition of young people in Syria”, Employment Policy Paper 2007/3 (ILO, Geneva). (The school-to-work transition of young people in Syria)