Informal Learning at Work and the Securing of Professional Mobility



In addition to job training, some work activities or organisational contexts may be more or less favourable to the development of skills through informal learning (IL). What is its influence on the probability of employment for workers in external mobility? This issue is addressed using data from the Céreq’s Dispositif d’enquête sur les formations et itinéraires des salariés (DEFIS, a survey on employee training and career path). With respect to a basic model of human capital accumulation, some of the results are unexpected; in particular, workers who left jobs that were a priori the most favourable to IL (cognitive processes, autonomy and professional exchanges) appear to derive no benefit from it; the most favourable situations combine only cogntive processes and autonomy, without professional exchanges. One explanation would be that while the positions most conducive to IL contribute to the development of skills, professional exchanges include an employee evaluation dimension, the outcome of which is not always favourable. In this case, external mobility could correspond to a negative evaluation likely to undermine workers’ self-confidence and their careers.

Co-authored with Anne Fretel.