Young people’s education to work transitions and inter-generational social mobility in post-Soviet Central Asia

Ken Roberts, Md Palash Kamruzzaman, Jochen Tholen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper is based on evidence gathered in 20 firms, matched by size and business sector, in each of three Central Asia cities — Almaty in Kazakhstan, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, and Samarkand in Uzbekistan. In each firm the owner(s) and/or senior managers supplied information about the business, focusing on methods of recruitment, training, and employee career development. Parallel questionnaire surveys gathered information about the family and educational backgrounds, and labour market and employment biographies, of all the young (up to age 30) employees in each of the 20 companies. A total of 1,402 young employees completed questionnaires, and from these, eight per city, with equal numbers of males and females, with and without higher education, were subsequently interviewed in depth. The evidence is used to identify how families that were advantaged under the old (communist) system were continuing to reproduce their advantages inter-generationally. It is shown that this was mainly, though not entirely, via their children's superior chances of progressing through higher education. The evidence is also used to argue that cultural capital was playing a stronger role than social capital in the inter-generational transmission of advantages, that the critical events in the potentially life-long status attainment process were concentrated within a relatively short time frame, and that the multiple strategies to which families with economic and cultural assets could resort were liable to neutralise all efforts to diminish their ability to pass their advantages down the generations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59 – 80
    Number of pages21
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


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