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Labour Market Mismatch Among UK Graduates: An Analysis Using REFLEX Data

  • McGuinness, Seamus


    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Sloane, Peter J.


    (Swansea University)

There is much disagreement in the literature over the extent to which graduates are mismatched in the labour market and the reasons for this. In this paper we utilise the Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society (REFLEX) data set to cast light on these issues, based on data for UK graduates. REFLEX examines the labour market status of graduates five years after graduation and distinguishes between first and current job, vertical and horizontal mismatch, over/underqualification and over/underskilling as well as including a range of questions on the nature of work organisation and individual competences. We find substantial pay penalties for over-education for both sexes and for overskilling in the case of men only. When both education and skill mismatch variables are included together in the model only overskilling reduces job satisfaction consistently for both sexes. Using job attributes data it appears that the lower wages of the overqualified may in part simply represent a compensating wage differential for positive job attributes, while for men at least there are real costs to being overskilled.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4168.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economics of Education Review, 2011, 30 (1), 130-145
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4168
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  1. Arnaud Chevalier & Joanne Lindley, 2009. "Overeducation and the skills of UK graduates," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(2), pages 307-337.
  2. Allen J.P. & Velden R.K.W. van der & Badillo-Amador L., 2013. "Wage effects of job-worker mismatches: Heterogeneous skills or institutional effects?," ROA Research Memorandum 021, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  3. Sicherman, Nachum & Galor, Oded, 1990. "A Theory of Career Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 169-92, February.
  4. Dolton, Peter J. & Silles, Mary A., 2008. "The effects of over-education on earnings in the graduate labour market," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 125-139, April.
  5. Frances Ruane & Xiaoheng Zhang, 2007. "Location Choices of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe after 1992," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp220, IIIS.
  6. Francis Green & Yu Zhu, 2008. "Overqualification, Job Dissatisfaction, and Increasing Dispersion in the Returns to Graduate Education," Studies in Economics 0803, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  7. Seán Lyons & Karen Mayor & Richard S.J. Tol, 2008. "Environmental Accounts for the Republic of Ireland: 1990-2005," Papers WP223, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  8. Elish Kelly & Philip O'Connell & Emer Smyth, 2008. "The Economic Returns to Field of Study and Competencies Among Higher Education Graduates in Ireland," Papers WP242, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  9. Dolton, Peter & Vignoles, Anna, 2000. "The incidence and effects of overeducation in the U.K. graduate labour market," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 179-198, April.
  10. Arnaud Chevalier, 2003. "Measuring Over-education," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(279), pages 509-531, 08.
  11. S. Mcguinness, 2003. "Graduate overeducation as a sheepskin effect: evidence from Northern Ireland," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 597-608.
  12. Kostas Mavromaras & Seamus McGuinness & Yin King Fok, 2007. "Assessing the Incidence and Wage Effects of Over-skilling in the Australian Labour Market," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2007n32, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  13. Peter Gottschalk & Michael Hansen, 2003. "Is the Proportion of College Workers in Noncollege Jobs Increasing?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 409-448, April.
  14. H. Battu & C. R. Belfield & P. J. Sloane, 1999. "Overeducation Among Graduates: a cohort view," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 21-38.
  15. McGuinness, Seamus & Bennett, Jessica, 2007. "Overeducation in the graduate labour market: A quantile regression approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 521-531, October.
  16. Christopher Fleming & Parvinder Kler, 2008. "I'm too clever for this job: a bivariate probit analysis on overeducation and job satisfaction in Australia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(9), pages 1123-1138.
  17. Bauer, Thomas K., 2002. "Educational mismatch and wages: a panel analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 221-229, June.
  18. McGuinness, Seamus & Wooden, Mark, 2007. "Overskilling, Job Insecurity and Career Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 2938, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Grazier, Suzanne & O'Leary, Nigel C. & Sloane, Peter J., 2008. "Graduate Employment in the UK: An Application of the Gottschalk-Hansen Model," IZA Discussion Papers 3618, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Francis Green & Steven McIntosh, 2007. "Is there a genuine under-utilization of skills amongst the over-qualified?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 427-439.
  21. Kelly, Elish & O'Connell, Philip J. & Smyth, Emer, 2010. "The economic returns to field of study and competencies among higher education graduates in Ireland," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 650-657, August.
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