The Type to Train? Impacts of Personality Characteristics on Further Training Participation

SOEPpapers 531, 36 S.

Judith Offerhaus


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Personality traits drive behaviors and attitudes, and determine socio-economic life outcomes for individuals. This paper investigates the relationship of six personality traits, the Big Five and Locus of Control, to individual participation in employment-related further education and training (FET) in a longitudinal perspective. Initial research suggests that training is a crucial determinant of life chances. Taking this a step further, I ask what sorts of individual personality traits characterize the type to train. I attempt to answer this question using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel from the time period 2000-2008. Applying random-effects logistic regression models to 39,833 observations of 4,981 individuals over a period of nine years reveals that those who are open to new experiences and have high internal control beliefs are more likely to participate in FET, and this holds true for different model specifications. Contrary to the hypotheses, Agreeableness, Extraversion and Neuroticism do not impact FET, whereas the training effect of Conscientiousness is more complex. It shows that in addition to the classical determinants of FET such as education and occupational status, there are personality traits which characterize the type to train. Practical implications of this finding are discussed.

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