Transition From School to Work: A National Perspective

Transition From School to Work: A National Perspective

Çiğdem Apaydın (Akdeniz University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7772-0.ch006


Although the pattern and issue of transition from school to work (TSW) is commonly discussed in France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the US, it cannot find a place as a topic of discussion in the press and academe in Turkey. In reality, transition from school to work constitutes one of the most critical steps in young people's careers. It is therefore necessary to discuss the power of public policies to improve policies for young people, such as the regulation of the labor market, labor market programs, the effect of education on having a profession, and transition from higher education to work, all of which are underlined in the literature. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the process of transition from higher education to work within the context of Turkey based on the literature.
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Transition from school to work (TSW) is the period when the individual leaves school and starts to work (Ng & Feldman, 2007). This period is an important milestone for young people in general, and for those with a bachelor’s degree in particular. A young student, with this degree, leaves the school life behind and starts a new life as a full-time employee who needs to make important decisions that determine career success in the future. In this context, the concept of TSW is regarded as a new formation related to change, expectation and uncertainty. Contrary to the short and direct ways assumed to be valid for previous generations, Ryan (2001) depicts the way from school to employment as long and dangerous, likening it to Powell's trip on the Colorado River by the Staten Island ferry. The transition from school to work encompasses many long-standing issues related to schooling, employment and education. The questions of “Does unemployment harm young people? Do minimum wages increase youth employment and education? Is vocational training beneficial from an economic point of view? (Rees 1986); What is the cost of entering the labour market for a young person? How much should these costs be to individuals and the society? Does the transition from school to work model poses a formidable obstacle to the competition between countries and to improving life standards in the short or long term? (Kazis, 1988)” are addressed. According to Ryan (2001), these questions are now considered to be a part of the transition from school to work process, which is defined as the period between the end of compulsory education and getting full-time, stable employment.

According to Ashton and Ashton (2016), significant developments have been made in the conceptualization of the TSW process with the research conducted within the last 30 years. Among these developments are the recognition of the extension of the duration of some processes, such as failing in courses and thus the delayed entry into the labour market; the nonlinear way in which transition from school to work takes place; experiencing more discrimination in terms of gender and status in the transition period, and the more active role young adults play during the process of transition to work and managing the related risks.

Ng and Feldman (2007, p. 116) define transition from school to work as a state in which individuals are employed after leaving school, perform at levels acceptable to their employers, and have positive attitudes towards their work environments and job requirements. They also argue that this definition includes objective criteria (e.g., employment versus unemployment, job performance ratings, etc.), and subjective indices (e.g., work attitudes, stress levels, and perceptions of fit). The authors associate this process with the theory of work adjustment and the organizational socialization literature, and they add that both try to maintain human adaptability and employment stability during the early career transitions of young adults. Organizational socialization is the pressure that an organization puts on an individual to ensure full adaptation (Balcı, 2000). Adaptation to work, on the other hand, is the concordance between the competencies of an individual and the working conditions the organization provides, and the reciprocal fulfillment of expectations (Bretz & Judge, 1994). The individual who begins to work has a tendency to adapt to the organization and to maintain this harmony. It is clear that the transition from school to work process and adaptation to full-time professional work are usually traumatic and stressful experiences for new university graduates (Schein, 1968). Hughes (1958) explains this adjustment process with the metaphor of “reality shock” (cited in Heitkemper, 1998, p.48).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Employment: Comprises all the non-institutional working age population who are included in the “persons at work” and “not at work” described below.

Persons at Work: Persons economically active during the reference period for at least one hour as a regular employee, casual employee, employer, self employed or unpaid family worker.

Persons Not at Work: All self-employed and employers who have a job but not at work in the reference week for various reasons are considered as employed.

Unemployed: All persons in the non-institutional working age who have used at least one job search channel within the last four weeks to search for work from unemployed persons during the reference period and who can start work within two weeks are included in the unemployed population.

Transition From School to Work: The period when the individual left school and started to work.

Labor Force: Comprises all employed and unemployed persons.

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