The passage into work is a critical phase in young people’s lives, with long-term implications for the future labour market and for social outcomes. An evolving labour market adds to the complexity of trajectories, further confounding youth transitions and highlighting the importance of understanding transitions as a process.
In this context, the current study has the following objectives:
- identifying the different types of pathways followed by young people in their journey from school to work, with the aim of developing a topology of transitions
- using this information to obtain a better understanding of the characteristics of young people in different pathways.
The analytical approach used in the study combines sequence analysis and cluster analysis in order to identify similarities between activity patterns. It enables the study of labour market transitions as a sequence of activities and exploits the longitudinal nature of the data by using a series of graphical representations, these providing a direct visual insight into the patterns of transition within each pathway.
This study is based on data from the 2006 cohort of the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY Y06). LSAY is a nationally representative survey that tracks 15-year-old students as they move from school to further education or other destinations until they are 25 years of age. The survey captures detailed information on education activities and employment, as well as socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, making it ideally suited for this analysis. The study sample is limited to the 3186 individuals who completed each annual survey until 2016. While analytical and data constraints limit the ability to generalise the results of this study, the initial LSAY sample is representative of the youth population of Australia and thus is useful in providing important insights into their transition pathways.