Social Sciences

The Institute for Work, Skills and Training conducts comparative interdisciplinary and international research with a particular focus on employment, welfare systems and education. A distinguishing feature is the combination of basic and applied research. The Institute of Work, Skills and Training is part of many international research networks and undertakes projects not only with DFG funding, but also for international sponsors (EU, ILO, Humboldt Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, etc.). The focus of applied research is on programme evaluations of labour market and educational policies.
A particular highlight in 2010 was the publication of a comparison of life-course policies in eight European countries. In this EU project, Professor Gerhard Bosch and international partners examined whether and how transitions at critical stages of the life course are supported by public policy. A typology of different life course policies was developed. Germany stands out for its excellent support of the transition to working life through its vocational training system. However, in other life phases such as parenthood, public policy offers only low-level support. A consistent life-course policy is only recognisable within the Swedish welfare state.
Several major projects comparing vocational training internationally and in Germany and funded by the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation and the Krupp-Stiftung drew to a close in 2010. Dual vocational education was identified as one of the secrets to German competitiveness. An evaluation project of Germany’s Hartz legislation revealed that almost 30 % of unemployed migrants under the Social Security Code (SGB II) had completed vocational education that is not recognised in Germany. Vocational training policy is also the main focus of several new projects. A new hybrid between university and vocational training has evolved in the form of the dual study programme and this is to be the subject of further study. The role played by employability in internal human resources processes such as transfers and career development is the topic of another project.
Several projects deal with demographic change. The “Age Transition Monitor” is a reporting system which observes employment trends among older people. The demands of work in various employment sectors are the subject of several industrial projects. The causes of burnout in the information technology sector were also investigated and proposals developed for age-appropriate organisation of work. Investigations of low-wage employment on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) will continue in 2011 with the evaluation of low wages in the laundry and industrial cleaning sector.