Networks and status attainment: evidence from Spain
Mattia Vacchiano | Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) | Spain
A large body of sociological literature has been accumulated regarding the role of social capital as job search method and its results on job findings. On this topic, the «social resources theory» formulates the proposition that social capital (in terms of both accessed and mobilised resources in social networks) enhances the chances of obtaining better socioeconomic status. Although it is reasonable to claim that job seekers benefits by using contacts, inconclusive empirical evidence has put in doubt the importance of contacts on job outcomes, generating what is known, in the last decade, as the “Mouw-Lin debate”. Drawing on social capital theory, in this presentation we use social networks data from a study of young adults aged 20–34 in the Barcelona metropolitan area, in order to test the importance of contacts on occupational attainments. Controlling for socioeconomic variable such as sex, age and gender, we performed a multilevel analysis which predict the impact on job outcomes considering: (1) parental resources (occupational category), (2) personal resources (educational credentials), (3) accessed social capital (alters’ status and strength of ties) and (4) mobilized resources (alters’ status, strength and number of ties mobilized). Due to the specificity of our sample (which is composed only of young adults), we could not clarify the weight of occupational homophily on job outcomes (Mouw, 2003), considering this characteristic less dominant in young adults’ networks. However, our results show that SC has an impact on economic returns. Particularly, mobilising “few” and “better” contacts is associated with obtaining qualified jobs instead of no qualified; data also show that SC has no effect if we consider higher occupations (more qualified and prestigious jobs), underlying the importance of educational credentials for these specific attainments.
This research is part of a project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Innovation through grant CSO2012-36055 conducted by the Centre d’Estudis Sociològics sobre la Vida Quotidiana i el Treball - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. We also elaborate this research in the context of INCASI Network, a European project (Horizon 2020; Marie Skłodowska-Curie, 691004) coordinated by Dr. Pedro López-Roldán.
Occupational Mobility Networks
Per Block | Switzerland
Studies of intra-generational occupational mobility tend to view individuals’ transitions between occupations as events that are mostly independent of others’ moves in the labour market. The likelihood of occupational transitions is often discussed in terms of exogenous job characteristics that distinguish occupations, such as wage or skill levels. The theoretical focus on exogenous job characteristics is reflected in the methods employed in empirical analyses of mobility, as their fundamental assumption is the independence of observations. In this paper, an alternative method that can account for an interdependence of movement in the labour market is presented; by allowing and explicitly analysing dependence between occupational transitions provides new insight into the structure of occupational mobility. An intuitive way to analyse dependence in the labour market is to model occupational mobility as a network in which individuals’ transitions connect occupations. Dependence between occupational moves is analysed using statistical techniques for social networks, explicitly developed to model and account for mobility systems with interdependent observations.
Using this method, it is shown that, even after controlling for many important job characteristics, the mobility network is strongly guided by endogenous forces. Analysing these forces allows conclusions about clustering and hierarchisation of the labour market. Whether the found endogenous factors are due to unobserved (unobservable) job characteristics or actual dependence between ties is discussed. Further, the method at hand is used to analyse gender segregation of occupations. By relating the patterns of how women and men move through the labour market, theories on men specifically leaving occupations with a high inflow of women can be tested. With the proposed approach, we can move towards understanding how far sex segregation of the labour market is due to job characteristics or due to individuals reacting to the moves of others through the labour market.
More than looking for a job, or: How refugees try to get a foothold in the German labour market
Stefan Bernhard | Germany
Over one million refugees migrated to Germany in 2015 and 2016. Many of them will stay in Germany for the medium or long-term. This raises the question of how refugees integrate into the labour market. I argue that job finding processes of refugees have to be seen in context of their biographical situation. For refugees, labour market integration is more and something else then finding a job. It’s about getting a foothold in a new country, acquiring knowledge about how things work there and redefining professional goals in a totally new social setting. How do refugees forge and use personal contacts in that situation? Building on early stage qualitative research on refugees in Germany, I present a research design that combines narrative data with data on personal communities as well as on job searching (weak) ties. I illustrate my approach using an empirical case study.