Subjective Social Mobility of University Graduates Through the Lenses of their Educational Trajectories

Subjective Social Mobility of University Graduates Through the Lenses of their Educational Trajectories

Lukina A.A.

Junior Research Fellow, Institute of Education, HSE University Moscow, Russia.

Maltseva V.A.

PhD, Director of the Centre for Skills Development and Vocational Education, Institute of Education, HSE University Moscow, Russia.

Rozenfeld N.Ya.

Research Intern, Institute of Education, HSE University Moscow, Russia.

ID of the Article:

The research was supported by RSF. Project No. 22-18-00533.

For citation:

Lukina A.A., Maltseva V.A., Rozenfeld N.Ya. Subjective Social Mobility of University Graduates Through the Lenses of their Educational Trajectories. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2024. No 1. P. 109-124


The article examines patterns of subjective social mobility of Russian universities’ graduates based on the longitudinal database ”Trajectories in education and career“. Using a scale of a ten-step ”social ladder“ the following results were obtained. First, university graduates are more likely to experience a downward status transition and are unlikely exposed to a pronounced upward mobility or reproduction of high status; so they are more often characterized by immobility in average status positions. Higher education does not consolidate status privileges in the youth cohort and does not always play the social elevator role. Second, the analysis of mobility patterns in the context of trajectories on the way to university showed that university graduates previously graduated from high school are characterized by reproduction of high status. Last, trajectories with master’s degree turned out to be more ”risky“ than with only baccalaureate: master’s degree graduates are more likely to move either up or down the social ladder, while undergraduate trajectories are more characterized by status reproduction. The results of the study offer new empirical ground to consider higher education as a ”non-homogeneous“ level of education and its ambiguous role in social mobility.

social mobility; subjective mobility; higher education; youth; educational trajectories


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