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Rethinking Under-Skilling in Europe

Skill Mismatch in Labor Markets

ISBN: 978-1-78714-378-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-377-7

Publication date: 11 May 2017


This paper investigates the prevalence and distribution of under-skilling across Europe. First, in order to understand why under-skilling occurs, three main theoretical approaches are discussed: (a) Inefficient signaling, (b) Skill shortages, and (c) On-the-job training substitution. Second, in order to measure the real dimension of the problem, we use the Cedefop European Skills and Jobs Survey (ESJS) 1 to assess whether workers’ skills were lower than required at the point they started their job. Our results are rather mixed. First, we find under-skilling being related to some academic fields such as Health & Medicine, and Engineering. Second, we find that under-skilling is more prevalent among, not surprisingly, young workers but, rather unexpectedly, among permanent workers working in high-skilled occupations.



Livanos, I. and Núñez, I. (2017), "Rethinking Under-Skilling in Europe ", Skill Mismatch in Labor Markets (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 45), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 279-304.



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