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

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

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


  • Fabian Sander Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Switzerland
  • Irene Kriesi Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Switzerland


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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

Published:   5 September 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i3.2042


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