Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Medium and Long-Term Returns to Professional Education in Switzerland: Explaining Differences between Occupational Fields

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Abstract:  In Switzerland, initial vocational education and training graduates may enter a track of the tertiary system called professional education. Professional education represents about one-third of the tertiary system, includes numerous vocational training courses, and prepares for managerial or expert positions. Despite its prevalence, the long-term returns to professional education have rarely been investigated due to lacking data. In order to fill this gap, we will estimate the long-term returns to professional education based on a novel methodological design. Secondly, we aim to explain the differences in the returns to professional education between occupational fields by making use of the task-based approach of Autor, Levy and Murnane (2003). Analyses are based on the Swiss Labour Force Survey from 1991–2016. Based on a quasi-panel with cohort fixed effects and on linear regression models, our results reveal average short-term returns to professional education of 7% and long-term returns of 11%. However, we find considerable differences in the returns between training fields, which can partly be attributed to differences in the change of task composition after completion of professional education between occupations.

Keywords:  initial vocational education and training; professional education; returns to education; work tasks



© Fabian Sander, Irene Kriesi. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.