School-to-Work Transition: An International Comparative Perspective

Call for papers for: International Journal of Manpower

Guest Editor: Francesco Pastore 

The school-to-work transition is at the centre of several academic and public debates. It is behind the debate on persistent youth unemployment in many countries. It is also at the centre of the debate on the future of work and the need to adapt educational and training institutions to the needs of the fourth industrial revolution which is ongoing at a pace which has been clearly accelerated by the COVID-19 emergency.

Smart working, teleworking, platform work are becoming common experiences for many young people and are likely to change our way of thinking of the world of labour and also of future careers of young people.

Smart working and teleworking are changing the organization of space within and around firms. Is it affecting also labor productivity? And, if so, by how much? Workers’ satisfaction may increase from some points of view and reduce from others. What is the status of research on these important questions?

Platform work is causing much distress to young people, who experience new forms of precariousness. This is still a much under-researched area. It is still not clear how many platform workers there are in each country, what are their earnings and rights at work. However, we know that many research centres are working on these issues and we hope to provide a prestigious outlet to this research output.

Another important area of research relates to optimal design of education systems, also in view of the future of work as a consequence of Industry 4.0. It is more and more common for experts to require an important diversification of the supply of skills in order to provide the labor resources which will be required for the emerging green economy, digitalization of production and consumption and artificial intelligence, to mention a few of the new fields which are emerging.

An important indicator of the effectiveness of the transition is its length. However, little is known about this very important indicator. The work of Pastore et. al. (2020) provides an exception. They measure the length of the transition in Italy. It would be interesting to know more about the actual length of the transition in other countries and its determinants. The length of the transition is a challenge for flexicurity systems because a longer transition implies a greater effort in terms of passive income support and a more important commitment to active labor market policies.

Much attention is lent by an increasing number of observers, practitioners and policy makers to a full implementation of the duality principle at all levels of the education system, from secondary to tertiary and post-tertiary education. There have been many experiences of work-related learning, apprenticeship, vocational education and training, on-the-job training for university students, professional university degrees (degrees of applied sciences, to use the German expression), higher vocational and technical education, different types of post-graduate master programs, and industrial Ph.D. We expect to collect studies covering various aspects of these experiences.

Most of the studies published in the special issue will provide material for courses of economics, sociology, social sciences with an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. We hope to stimulate, and provide an outlet for, research in the field from many countries, including those in the developing world. A previous issue of the International Journal of Manpower on the school-to-work transition published in 2019 (Pastore and Zimmermann, 2019a and 2019b) uncovered new country models and issues relative to several Central Asian and African countries. We expect even more contributions on developing and emerging market economies.

All this considered, we will mention here some of the issues on which we would welcome submissions, though other issues are also possible: 

  • COVID-19 and the future of work; 
  • winners and losers of the COVID-19 emergency;
  • advantages and disadvantages of COVID-19 for young people;
  • role of smart working for young people;
  • impact of smart working on labor productivity and job satisfaction;
  • platform and other forms of youth work under the Industry 4.0 revolution;
  • young people and the gig economy;
  • green jobs;
  • impact of digitalization and artificial intelligence on labor;
  • duration of the transition around the world;
  • policy evaluation of citizenship income and other types of passive income support;
  • policy evaluation of youth labor market programs, including the European Youth Guarantee;
  • the duality principle in education;
  • work related learning;
  • apprenticeship and VET;
  • training for university students;
  • the outcome at a tertiary level of education of the vocational track: professional universities; universities of applied sciences; higher vocational and training education (such as Italian ITS);
  • doctoral labour markets.

Submissions will be accepted until the 1st of April 2021. However, submissions will be open once the call for papers will be published on the Journal’s website. Papers will be reviewed on a first-in-first-out principle.

This special issue is part of the activities of the cluster on school-to-work transition of the Global Labor Organization. Moreover, special attention will be lent to the contributions which will be submitted to the coming conference of the Transition in youth network, which will be held in September 2021 in Naples, University of Naples Parthenope.

Submission should be made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system: Before submission, please verify that you have carefully read the Author guidelines of the Journal. While making your submission, please specify the title of the current call for papers. 

Pastore, F. and K.F. Zimmermann (2019a),  “Advances on School to work transition: Part I“ (with K. Zimmermann, 2019), International Journal of Manpower, 40(3).
Pastore, F. and K.F. Zimmermann (2019b), “Contributions to school-to-work transitions: vocational training, skill mismatch and policy: Part II” (with K. Zimmermann, 2019), International Journal of Manpower, 40(8).
Pastore, F. C. Quintano and A. Rocca (2020), “Stuck at a Crossroads? The Duration of the Italian School-To-Work Transition”, forthcoming in the International Journal of Manpower (available as IZA discussion paper, n. 13462).