chapter  12
17 Pages

Young adults’ career prospects and aspirations in Eastern Germany and the United States


Changes in the world of work as well as different approaches towards the institutionalization of the life course have led to tremendous cultural differences in the way young adults view their life and career prospects. Particularly in the phase of the school-to-work transition, future pathways are partially determined by institutions, but the individual mindset that has been shaped through the socialization in families, peer groups and schools also plays a major role in young adults’ risk perceptions and planning concepts. This chapter draws on a study of East German and American (US) young adults’ views of their life courses and career prospects to explore not only structural conditions in terms of the organization of the school-to-work transition but also young adults’ risk perceptions regarding their future prospects of finding gainful employment and stability in labour markets that are increasingly stratified and destabilized in both these countries.