Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
Do strong vocational training systems lead to higher wages for low-end service workers over their careers? Low-wage work is growing in the advanced capitalist countries raising the question of how differences in vocational training systems affect wage mobility. Previous studies of wage mobility for low-wage workers rarely account for the influence of detailed occupations or country-level institutions. I address these weaknesses by analyzing the career wage mobility of workers in seven low-end service occupations in the U.S. and West Germany. I find that workers entering these occupations in both countries have similarly low rates of wage growth. The primary route to upward mobility in both countries is by moving occupations. Occupational mobility is lower in Germany likely due to barriers created by the strong vocational training system. This results in lower odds for upward mobility in Germany than in the U.S. for workers in the same low-end service occupation.