Why Has the Share of Training Firms Declined in Switzerland?

Journal for Labour Market Research, 2007

19 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2016

See all articles by Juerg Schweri

Juerg Schweri

Swiss Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Research

Barbara Mueller

University of Bern

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

The Swiss mass apprenticeship system is market based. The share of training firms as a percentage of all firms is therefore an indicator which receives much public attention. The share of training firms declined markedly from 1985 to 2001, dropping from 24.7 to 17.6%. This has often been interpreted as a sign of firms’ decreasing willingness to train apprentices. We use data from the firm census to assess whether the decline in the share of training firms can instead be explained by a range of independent variables. Besides firm characteristics and regional variables, we include supply-side factors such as demographic developments in the relevant age cohorts, which have been ignored in the empirical literature so far. Using pooled probit models, fixed-effects models and a Blinder-Oaxaca type decomposition, we are able to explain the variation in the share of training firms over time to a large extent. The main reasons for the decrease are increasing numbers of very small firms, shifts in industry composition, a reduction in the number of young people and an increasing share of young people going to grammar school. We discuss these developments in turn and conclude that they do not, in our opinion, provide sufficient reasons for state interventions in the apprenticeship market.

Keywords: Firm-based training, human capital, apprenticeship, Switzerland

JEL Classification: J23, J24

Suggested Citation

Schweri, Jürg and Mueller, Barbara, Why Has the Share of Training Firms Declined in Switzerland? (2007). Journal for Labour Market Research, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2721359

Jürg Schweri (Contact Author)

Swiss Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Research ( email )

Kirchlindachstrasse 79
Zollikofen, 3052
Switzerland

Barbara Mueller

University of Bern ( email )

Gesellschaftsstrasse 49
Bern, BERN 3001
Switzerland

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