2nd Forum „Higher Education and the Labour Market“ (HELM): Different Paths – Different Outcomes? Changes in the Acquisition of the Higher Education Entrance Qualification and Educational Pathways of Graduates

29.-30.10.2019, Leibnizhaus, Hanover (Germany)

Today, the majority of the 18-19 year olds acquires a higher education entrance qualification. While most of them do so by obtaining a general secondary school certificate (e.g., Abitur, Matura, Baccalauréat, A-Levels), alternative paths to acquiring a higher education entrance qualification might apply. Moreover, cooperative education programmes integrating vocational and tertiary education (“Duales Studium”), which provide an alternative path to university studies and vocational training, have become increasingly popular.

How these changes shape education and career paths of students/degree holders is the focus topic of this year’s 2nd Forum „Higher Education and the Labour Market“. Of particular interest are papers focusing on the education and career paths of the new (non-traditional) student groups or analysing (and ideally comparing) students following the different educational tracks (university studies, vocational training, cooperative education programmes). Contributions might, for example, cover topics like:

  • Who chooses (traditional) higher education programmes, who chooses vocational education, and who opts for cooperative education programmes? Are there systematic differences in students’ choices between these options, for example due to gender, academic or migration background, the type of entrance qualification, and/or individual competences?
  • What determines the choice of subjects in higher education or vocational training?
  • Does the type of higher education entrance qualification influence the success in vocational and higher education?
  • Are training and/or study decisions revised later on? And if so, when will this be the case, who will be most likely to revise her or his decision, are some decisions more likely to be revised than others, and which alternative paths are taken?
  • It is often argued that vocational and tertiary education convey different types of competencies (more specific vs. more general). How do these differences in competence endowments affect degree holders’ labour market chances?

In addition to the focus topic the organizers are also interested in contributions that deal with the link between higher education and the labour market in general. Examples are papers focusing on topics like returns to education, overeducation among holders of tertiary degrees, labour market transitions of university drop-outs, graduates’ placement on the labour market – especially with regard to graduates with different types of degrees (e.g., B.A./M.A), or differences over time resulting from the increase in take-up of university studies.


Prof. Dr. Herman van de Werfhorst (University of Amsterdam)
Prof. Dr. Stephan Thomsen (University of Hanover)

Scientific Committee

Prof. Dr. Silke Anger (IAB/University of Bamberg), Prof. Dr. Monika Jungbauer-Gans (DZHW/University
of Hanover), Dr. Anja Gottburgsen (DZHW), Dr. Bernhard Christoph (IAB), Ulrike Schwabe
(DZHW), Prof. Dr. Annekatrin Niebuhr (IAB/University of Kiel)


The organizers appreciate empirical contributions from various disciplines, in particular from Economics, the Social Sciences and Education.

Please submit a short abstract (maximum 500 words) by June 24th 2019 to HELM@dzhw.eu