Table of contents(13 chapters)
Employers regularly complain of a shortage of qualified scientists and advocate that to remain competitive more scientists need to be trained. However, using a survey of graduates from British universities, I report that 3 years after graduation less than 50% of graduates from science subjects are working in a scientific occupation.
Accounting for selection into major and occupation type, I estimate the wages of graduates and report that the wage premium of science graduates only occurs when these graduates are matched to a scientific occupation – and not because science skills are in demand in all occupations. I also provide additional evidence to assess whether science graduates are pushed or pulled into non-scientific occupations. Altogether, the evidence does not support the claim that science graduates are pulled by better conditions, financial or otherwise, into non-scientific jobs.
Cross-National Deployment of “Graduate Jobs”: Analysis Using a New Indicator Based on High Skills Use
Utilizing work task data drawn from the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills of 2011–2012 and 2014–2015, we derive a new skills-based indicator of graduate jobs, termed ISCO(HE)2008, for 31 countries. The indicator generates a plausible distribution of graduate occupations and explains graduates’ wages and job satisfaction better than hitherto existing indicators. Unlike with the traditional classifier, several jobs in major group 3 “Technicians and Associate Professionals” require higher education in many countries. Altogether, almost a third of labor is deployed in graduate jobs in the 31 countries, but with large cross-national differences. Industry and establishment-size composition can account for some of the variation. In addition, two indicators of the relative quality of the higher education system also contribute to the variation in the prevalence of graduate jobs across countries.
This paper uses data from the Cedefop European Skills and Jobs survey (ESJS) (Cedefop, 2014, ESJS microdata are Cedefop copyright and are reproduced with the permission of Cedefop. Further information is available at Cedefop, 2015), a new international dataset on skill mismatch of adult workers in 28 EU countries, to decompose the wage penalty of overeducated workers. The ESJ survey allows for integration of a rich set of variables in the estimation of the effect of overeducation on earnings, such as individuals’ job search motives and the skill needs of their jobs. Oaxaca decomposition techniques are employed to uncover the extent to which the earnings penalties of overeducated workers can be attributed to either (i) individual human capital attributes, (ii) job characteristics, (iii) information asymmetries, (iv) compensating job attributes, or (iv) assignment to jobs with different skill needs. Differences in human capital and job-skill requirements are important factors in explaining the wage premium. It is found that asymmetry of information accounts for a significant part of the overeducation wage penalty of tertiary education graduates, whereas job characteristics and the low skill content of their jobs can explain most of the wage gap for medium-qualified employees. Little evidence is found in favor of equilibrium theories of compensating wage differentials and career mobility. Accepting that much remains to be learned with regards to the drivers of overeducation, this paper provides evidence in support of the need for customized policy responses to tackle overeducation.
In this paper, we examine the occupational distribution of individuals who hold bachelor degrees in particular fields in the United States using data from the various waves of the National Survey of College Graduates. We propose and calculate indices that describe two related aspects of the occupational distribution by major field of study: distinctiveness (how dissimilar are the occupations of a particular major when compared with all other majors) and variety (how varied are the occupations among those who hold that particular major). We discuss theoretical properties of these indices and statistical properties of their estimates. We show that the occupational variety has increased since 1993 for most major fields of study, particularly between the 1993 and 2003 waves of the survey. We explore reasons for this broadening of the occupation distribution. We find that this has not led to an increase in reported mismatch between degree and occupation.
We use OECD-PIAAC data to estimate the earnings effects of both years of education and of numerical skills. Our identification strategy exploits differential exposure to educational reforms across birth cohorts and countries. We find that education has the strongest earnings effect. A one standard deviation increase in years of education raises earnings by almost 22 percentage points (corresponding to a return to education above 7 percentage points), which compares with a lower percentage points return to an equivalent increase in numerical skills. Our results suggest that the same set of unobservables drives the accumulation of both formal years of education and numeracy skills. OLS estimates underestimate returns to human capital, consistently with the idea that educational reforms favor the human capital acquisition of abler children from disadvantaged parental backgrounds. When we consider numerical skills alone education reforms cannot identify any significant effect of skills on wages, however, when we jointly consider schooling and skills as endogenous factors in a recursive structure we find a significant role for skills in determining wages.
This paper explores the link between skill and qualification mismatch and labor productivity using cross-country industry data for 19 OECD countries. Utilizing mismatch indicators aggregated from micro-data sourced from the recent OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), the main results suggest that higher skill and qualification mismatch is associated with lower labor productivity, with over-skilling and under-qualification accounting for most of these impacts. A novel result is that higher skill mismatch is associated with lower labor productivity through a less efficient allocation of resources, presumably because when the share of over-skilled workers is higher, more productive firms find it more difficult to attract skilled labor and gain market shares at the expense of less productive firms. At the same time, a higher share of under-qualified workers is associated with both lower allocative efficiency and within-firm productivity – that is, a lower ratio of high productivity to low productivity firms. While differences in managerial quality can potentially account for the relationship between mismatch and within-firm productivity, the paper offers some preliminary insights into the policy factors that might explain the link between skill mismatch and resource allocation.
This paper contributes to the literature on overeducation by empirically investigating the wage penalty of job–education mismatch among PhD holders who completed their studies in Italy; a country where the number of new doctoral recipients has dramatically increased over recent years while personnel employed in R&D activities is still below the European average. We use cross-sectional micro-data collected in 2009 and rely on different definitions of education–job mismatch such as, overeducation, overskilling, and dissatisfaction with the use of skills. We find that overeducation and skills dissatisfaction are associated with significantly lower wages but there is no wage penalty from overskilling. Furthermore, those who simultaneously report overeducation and skills dissatisfaction experience a particularly high wage penalty.
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.
The explicit assumption in most literature on educational and skill mismatches is that these mismatches are inherently costly for workers. However, the results in the literature on the effects of underqualification or underskilling on wages and job satisfaction only partly support this hypothesis. Rather than assuming that both skill surpluses and skill deficits are inherently costly for workers, we interpret these mixed findings by taking a learning perspective on skill mismatches. Following the theory of Vygotski on the so-called “zone of proximal development,” we expect that workers who start their job with a small skill deficit, show more skill growth than workers who start in a matching job or workers with a more severe skill deficit. We test this hypothesis using the Cedefop European skills and jobs survey (ESJS) and the results confirm these expectations. Workers learn more from job tasks that are more demanding than if they would work in a job that perfectly matches their initial skill level and this skill growth is largest for those who start with a small skill deficit. The learning opportunities are worst when workers start in a job for which they have a skill surplus. This is reflected in the type of learning activities that workers take up. Workers with a small skill deficit are more often engaged in informal learning activities. Finally, workers who started with a small skill deficit are no less satisfied with their job than workers who started in a well-matched job. We conclude that a skill match is good for workers, but a small skill deficit is even better. This puts some responsibility on employers to keep job tasks and responsibilities at a challenging level for their employees.
This paper provides more insight into the assumption of human capital theory that the productivity of job-related training is driven by the improvement of workers’ skills. We analyze the extent to which training and informal learning on the job are related to employee skill development and consider the heterogeneity of this relationship with respect to workers’ skill mismatch at job entry. Using data from the 2014 European Skills and Jobs Survey, we find – as assumed by human capital theory – that employees who participated in training or informal learning show greater improvement of their skills than those who did not. The contribution of informal learning to employee skill development appears to be larger than that of training participation. Nevertheless, both forms of learning are shown to be complementary. This complementarity between training and informal learning is related to a significant additional improvement of workers’ skills. The skill development of workers who were initially underskilled for their job seems to benefit the most from both training and informal learning, whereas the skill development of those who were initially overskilled benefits the least. Work-related learning investments in the latter group seem to be more functional in offsetting skill depreciation than in fostering skill accumulation.
We investigate the relationship between job complexity and skill development of adult workers in Europe using the Cedefop European Skills and Jobs Survey. 1 The results suggest that challenging workplaces in which jobs are designed to include complex tasks that place high demands on workers’ skills also stimulate skill development. Increasing the degree of job complexity has positive and robust effects on the degree of skill development. Skill development is also positively linked to job tenure. The analysis stresses the importance of on-the-job learning and contextual workplace characteristics for adult workers’ skill development.
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- Research in Labor Economics
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- Emerald Publishing Limited
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