Within-generation social mobility in Australia: The effect of returning to education on occupational status and earnings


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    The link between social origin and education is well established and, despite the expansion of tertiary education, researchers have found little evidence that increasing opportunities for post-school study have been distributed equally among different social strata. Unlike their counterparts in many other advanced economies, Australians have the opportunity to return to education at any time during the life course. The flexibility of the Australian education system and the preparedness of older Australians to return to education provide an opportunity to examine whether returning to education and graduating with a new qualification after the age of 25 is associated with achieving upward social mobility. Using data collected by the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey between 2001 and 2010, this article examines whether mature-age graduates enjoy increased earnings and occupational prestige and achieve within-generation social mobility.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-400
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Sociology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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