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Transition from School to Work and the Impact of Social Capital


Young people with the same educational qualifications do not reach the same place in the social hierarchy, because educational credentials are never separable from the individuals that hold them. The economic and social return of educational credentials (in terms of salary and the status of the job) depends mainly on the social capital of their holders. How much social capital an individual has access to, depends, among other things, on her socio-economic background, gender and ethnicity.

The aim of this project is to examine: 1) what is the impact of social capital (compared with socio-economic background and education) on labour market outcomes of young people in obtaining their first jobs, and 2), is there any differences between young natives and children of immigrants in regard to their access to and return from social capital when they get their first employment?

In order to achieve the aim of the project, we will examine the labour market outcomes (salary and the work's status) of young people with the same education, three years after completed studies from universities and secondary schools.

The method design of the project combines quantitative and qualitative method (questionnaire - and interview studies).


Education, Social capital/networks, Work


This study addresses the impact of social capital on the status attainment process of young people at the start of their careers. The survey included questions about the job acquisition experience of a sample of young Swedish people who graduated in 2004 or 2005 from vocational schools and universities. The aim of study is to investigate how social class, gender and ethnicity affect accumulation of educational and social capital and thereby the outcomes of the school-to-work transition. Two research questions are posed: (i) Which characteristics of young people (class, gender and ethnicity) affect the probability of their completing higher education and achieving access to more social capital? (ii) How well are educational capital and social capital rewarded in the labour market?
The results confirm previous studies' findings about the lower educational achievements of young people with socially disadvantage background, and show that being a child from lower social classes and being a member of a stigmatized immigrant group is associated with a substantial social capital deficit.
When socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds as well as the human capital of respondents are controlled for, social capital is positively associated with level of salary, which indicates that social capital is a significant contributing factor in the status attainment process.


Behtoui, Alireza (2012), "Incorporation of children of immigrants, The case of descendants of Turkish immigrants in Sweden", Ethnic and Racial Studies DOI:10.1080/01419870.2012.696667

Other Academic Output

Paper presenter and workshop commentator (The impact of education and social capital at the beginning of working life), IMISCOE 7th Annual Conference.

Paper presented in Nordic Sociological Conference, August 4-8 2011, Oslo, "Education and Social Capital at the Beginning of Working Life"

Paper presented In IMISCOE Eighth Annual Conference, Warsaw, Poland, 7-9 September 2011, "Integration of children of immigrants from Turkey".

2008 - 2012


Forte Forskningsrådet arbetsliv, hälsa, välfärd

REMESO Project Leader

Alireza Behtoui, Professor

Participants from REMESO

Anders Neergaard
Sabine Gruber

Contact for project


Last updated: 2013-05-07

Page responsible: erik.berggren@liu.se
Last updated: 2020-05-27