Young Employed and Their Siblings in Europe: Social Origin and Employment Attachment

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW2.1.01 (Tower Two)
Tiziana Nazio, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Marianna Filandri, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Jacqueline A O'Reilly, University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom
Unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment, has been uneven across many European countries and on the rise in following the most recent economic and financial crisis. This steep rise in unemployment has hit young people particularly strongly, especially in the most peripheral economies (PIIGS countries), where young individuals already suffered a comparatively longer path to stable employment (Blossfeld et al 2005). Here, it is also where non employment rates among young people are higher, where social networks are the most effective means to access employment and where exclusion from the labour market can undermine individuals’ capacity to maintain those ties and networks.

Previous literature has already shown about the stratification of opportunities in the transition to adulthood (timing to residential independence, transition to a matching employment, first partnership and first birth) along with the social class of the families of origin. This paper aims to understand more about the relationship between family strategies and poor labour market outcomes during periods of economic crisis. It contributes by comparing youth occupational status in several European countries, by focusing on social class of origin and on the number of siblings (above age 16 and out of education). It is not part of the siblings studies used to explore family-of-origin effects on socioeconomic outcomes (Conley 2008), but exploits the variance in young adults’ employment by household’s social origin and family size for providing further insights about the cumulative advantage/disadvantage hypotheses stemming from the analysis of intergenerational reproduction of inequalities.

Regardless of co-residence in the parental household or having already achieved residential independence, currently employed siblings might become a valuable asset in the process of search for employment by enlarging the social network of young non employed, providing guidance and a more heterogeneous set of weak-ties.

We expect to find that young people coming from wealthier families benefit from easier access to education, more chances to develop soft skills and inherit social networks or business, and thus being employed. Conversely, families with fewer resources have less to invest on each of their sons and daughters to help them finding and holding a job.

However, depending on the number and age of children, particularly when they reside in close proximity, larger families with more siblings in work can counterbalance the relative scarcity of resources directly transmitted by parents, by providing alternative support to young people’s entry and permanence into employment. If youngsters might have fewer resources transmitted directly from parents, may have more passed indirectly from (employed) siblings.

We test this hypothesis with SHARE data, controlling for proximity from parents, with a focus on the occupational status of siblings. We aim at testing if there is an effect between social class of origin and number of (employed) siblings.