Destandardised Career Entry? An Analysis of the Transition to Professional Life by Swiss Sports Science Graduates

In recent decades, sport has become more and more important as an occupational field, due to the increasing differentiation and commercialisation of sports. This paper will analyse to what extent these developments are associated with destandardisation processes at the time when sports science graduates embark on their professional career. For this purpose, continuous professional trajectories were gathered from a sample of n = 742 sport science graduates from all Swiss universities, to provide retrospective longitudinal data for the complete cohorts (1984/85, 1994/95 and 2004/05). Optimal matching analysis was used to reveal underlying structures, after which the cohorts were compared to check any tendencies towards destandardisation empirically. Only a minority of all Swiss sports scientists is affected by destandardisation tendencies. There is no noteworthy increase in the variety of sequential pat-terns over time; instead, the normal occupational career remains clearly pronounced across all three cohorts. If anything, a tendency towards destandardised occupational careers may be observed in the field of schools.