Getting to work: insights about the transition from education to employment from the Life Chances Study, Stage 11

Dina Bowman, Malita Allan and Iris Levin

This Stage 11 report of the Life Chances Study examines post-compulsory education and work experiences for young people in their mid-20s.

At a glance

The Getting to Work report is part of SPARC’s ongoing Life Chances Study which began in 1990 with babies born in inner suburbs of Melbourne. Each stage of the study has focused on how family income, social class, ethnicity and gender affect the lives of (the same group of) individuals.

Getting to Work examines how a young person’s advantages and disadvantages impact their transition from education to work.

The authors interviewed 37 young people, all in their mid-20s, to learn how they made sense of their experiences after compulsory schooling and how their life opportunities shaped their perspectives.

Dive deeper

This report comes from Stage 11 of the longitudinal Life Chances Study. The authors surveyed and interviewed young adults in their mid-20s. Phase one began in 2014 and consisted of surveying 135 young people and resulted in 98 completions (73% response rate). In phase two in 2015 the authors interviewed a subsample of 37 survey respondents.

Interviews showed that the impacts of changes in the labour market and in post-compulsory education on young adults are uneven, often reflecting socioeconomic circumstances. Young people who come from relatively privileged backgrounds are better supported when times get tough in the increasingly competitive labour market.

These findings support existing BSL policy recommendations for a national employment strategy that focuses on helping young people build social capital, and includes relevant career guidance.

Last updated on 2 March 2022