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Over-Qualified or Under-Skilled: A Review of Existing Literature

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  • Glenda Quintini

    (OECD)

Abstract

Mismatches between workers’ competences and what is required by their job are widespread in OECD countries. Studies that use qualifications as proxies for competences suggest that as many as one in four workers could be over-qualified and as many as one in three could be under-qualified for their job. However, there is significant variation across countries and socio-demographic groups. Our meta-analysis of country studies suggests that over 35% of workers are over-qualified in Sweden compared with just 10% in Finland, with most other OECD countries located between these two extremes. There is also extensive evidence that youth are more likely to be over-qualified than their older counterparts and the same is found to be true for immigrant workers compared with a country’s nationals. On the other hand, no definitive evidence has been found of the persistence of qualification mismatch, with some papers showing that over-qualification is just a temporary phenomenon that most workers overcome through career mobility and others finding infrequent transitions between over-qualification and good job matches. Across the board, over-qualified workers are found to earn less than their equally-qualified and well-matched counterparts but more than appropriately-qualified workers doing the same job. Under-qualified workers are found to earn more than their equally-qualified and well-matched counterparts but less than appropriately-qualified workers doing the same job. Over-qualified workers are also found to be less satisfied about their job and more likely to leave their work than well-matched workers with the same qualifications….

Suggested Citation

  • Glenda Quintini, 2011. "Over-Qualified or Under-Skilled: A Review of Existing Literature," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 121, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:121-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kg58j9d7b6d-en
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    Cited by:

    1. Agnieszka Chlon-Dominczak & Maciej Lis, 2013. "Does gender matter for lifelong learning activity?," IBS Working Papers 3/2013, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    2. Daniela Rohrbach-Schmidt & Michael Tiemann, 2016. "Educational (Mis)match and skill utilization in Germany: Assessing the role of worker and job characteristics
      [Qualifikatorisches (Mis)matching und die Ausnutzung von fachlichen Kenntnissen und Fäh
      ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(2), pages 99-119, October.
    3. Kampelmann, Stephan & Mahy, Benoît & Rycx, Francois & Vermeylen, Guillaume, 2016. "Who Is Your Perfect Match? Educational Norms, Educational Mismatch and Firm Profitability," IZA Discussion Papers 10399, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Sandra Nieto, 2015. "Overeducation, skills and wage penalty: Evidence for Spain using PIAAC data," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 10,in: Marta Rahona López & Jennifer Graves (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 10, edition 1, volume 10, chapter 30, pages 597-616 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    5. repec:ilo:ilowps:480601 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. McGuinness Seamus & Whelan Adele & Bergin Adele, 2016. "Is There a Role for Higher Education Institutions in Improving the Quality of First Employment?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 1-15, October.
    7. Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Francesco Pastore, 2012. "Overeducation at a glance. Determinants and wage effects of the educational mismatch, looking at the AlmaLaurea data," Discussion Papers 18_2012, CRISEI, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    8. International Labour Office., 2013. "Global employment trends for youth 2013 : a generation at risk," Global Employment Trends Reports 994816973402676, International Labour Office, Economic and Labour Market Analysis Department.
    9. Rolf van der Velden & Mark Levels & Jim Allen, 2014. "Educational mismatches and skills: New empirical tests of old hypotheses," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 9,in: Adela García Aracil & Isabel Neira Gómez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 9, edition 1, volume 9, chapter 34, pages 655-680 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    10. Sparreboom, Theo. & Gomis, Roger., 2015. "Structural change, employment and education in Ghana," ILO Working Papers 994895323402676, International Labour Organization.
    11. Seamus McGuinness & Luis Ortiz, 2016. "Skill gaps in the workplace: measurement, determinants and impacts," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 253-278, May.
    12. Iriondo, Iñaki & Pérez-Amaral, Teodosio, 2016. "The effect of educational mismatch on wages in Europe," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 304-323.
    13. Kupets, Olga, 2016. "Education-job mismatch in Ukraine: Too many people with tertiary education or too many jobs for low-skilled?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 125-147.
    14. Maria Cristiana Martini & Luigi Fabbris, 2017. "Beyond Employment Rate: A Multidimensional Indicator of Higher Education Effectiveness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 351-370, January.
    15. repec:cmj:seapas:y:2017:i:15:p:395-398 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:labeco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:120-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Iñaki Iriondo & Teodosio Pérez-Amaral, 2013. "The Effect of Educational Mismatch on Wages Using European Panel Data," Working Papers 700, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    18. Levels M. & Velden R.K.W. van der & Levels M. & Allen J.P., 2013. "Skill mismatch and skill use in developed countries: Evidence from the PIAAC study," ROA Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    19. Tindara Addabbo & Paula Rodr íguez-Modroño & Lina Gálvez-Muñoz, 2014. "Youth living in a couple. How women's labour supply adapts to the crisis. The case of Spain," Center for the Analysis of Public Policies (CAPP) 0114, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    20. Velden R.K.W. van der & Allen J.P. & Levels M., 2013. "Skill mismatch and use in developed countries: Evidence from the PIAAC study," Research Memorandum 061, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    21. Guzi, Martin & Kahanec, Martin & Kureková, Lucia Mýtna, 2015. "How Immigration Grease Is Affected by Economic, Institutional and Policy Contexts: Evidence from EU Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 9108, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Michael J. Handel & Alexandria Valerio & Maria Laura Sánchez Puerta, 2016. "Accounting for Mismatch in Low- and Middle-Income Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 24906.
    23. Marco Marozzi, 2016. "Construction, Robustness Assessment and Application of an Index of Perceived Level of Socio-Economic Threat from Immigrants: A Study of 47 European Countries and Regions," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 413-437, August.
    24. Addabbo, Tindara & Rodríguez-Modroño, Paula & Gálvez-Muñoz, Lina, 2015. "Young people living as couples: How women's labour supply is adapting to the crisis. Spain as a case study," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 27-42.
    25. El Achkar Hilal, Souleima. & Sparreboom, Theo. & Meade, Douglas., 2013. "The Philippines employment projections model employment targeting and scenarios," ILO Working Papers 994806013402676, International Labour Organization.

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