Project Fact Sheet

Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria

Starting Date 01.11.2012

Duration 36 Months

Discipline Social Sciences

Main Goals

The research project aims at better understanding

● school-to-work transition in contemporary Bulgaria

● the role of social inequalities in those transitions

● and the mechanisms behind educational and employment (un)success.


We developed and implemented a nationally representative school-leaver survey of 2100 Bulgarians aged 15-34. The questionnaire included over 170 questions providing detailed information on the respondents’ educational background and their employment situation. With the analyses of the survey data and additional datasets we seek to describe and explain young people’s passages from education to employment in Bulgaria today.

Expected results

The school-leaver survey allows us to identify young people’s pathways along different educational tracks to different employment positions. This is particularly timely and important since many graduates risk not gaining ground in the labour market and facing social exclusion in Bulgaria. To date, our analyses have shown that: The access to higher education for people born in villages has not improved significantly in the post 1989 period; the educational choices of girls are more strongly influenced by their parents’ education compared to the choices of boys; Bulgarian vocational education steers men into male typed work while higher education promotes their employment in female typed occupations. These and future findings from the study aid in better understand the role of social, ethnic, regional and gender inequalities in the school-to-work transitions. The project thus can contribute to several policy priorities of the country: reducing youth unemployment, implementing education reform, expanding the dual-system of vocational training and education, and addressing social exclusion.

Swiss Coordinator

Christian Imdorf

Department of Social Sciences

University of Basel

Bulgarian Coordinator

Rumiana Stoilova

Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences