2019/01. Wages and employment: The role of occupational skills
Esther Mirjam Girsberger, University of Technology Sydney; Matthias Krapf, University of Basel; Miriam Rinawi, Swiss National Bank
Date of publication: 29th January 2019
Working paper number: 01
We study how skills acquired in vocational education and training (VET) affect wages and employment dynamics in Switzerland. We present and estimate a search and matching model for workers with a VET degree who differ in their interpersonal, cognitive and manual skills. Assuming a match productivity which exhibits worker-job complementarity, we estimate how workers’ skills map into job offers, wages and unemployment. Firms value cognitive skills on average almost twice as much as interpersonal and manual skills. Moreover, they prize complementarity in cognitive and interpersonal skills. We estimate average returns to VET skills in hourly wages of 9%. Furthermore, VET improves labour market opportunities through higher job arrival rate and lower job destruction. Workers thus have large benefits from getting a VET degree.