Cross-national differences in qualification mismatch among tertiary-educated workers

Activity: Talk or presentation / Performance / SpeechesTalk or presentation - at conferenceAcademic


Prior research has shown that there are sizeable differences between countries in the prevalence of qualification mismatch among tertiary-educated workers. To date, there is limited consensus on the underlying causes of these differences. As part of a consultation of the Network on Labour Market, Economic and Social Outcomes of Learning (LSO), this analysis therefore examines to what extent three broad groups of features of countries may be associated with variation in the level of qualification mismatch among tertiary educated workers: (1) the state and organization of the economy; (2) employment protection legislation, labour market policies and social security; and (3) the design and organisation of education. We first conducted a literature overview on qualification mismatch, with a specific focus on possible mechanisms that drive cross-country variation in overqualification. Based on this literature review, we then used multilevel logistic regression analyses to estimate the prevalence of overqualification among tertiary-educated workers per country, before and after correction for relevant individual characteristics. In our main analysis, we then also used multilevel models to examine the role of relevant country characteristics in their association with overqualification among tertiary-educated workers. We used data from the PIAAC survey (2011-2017) on respondents aged 25-65 from 26 OECD countries. We found that there are considerable country differences in the prevalence of overqualification. These country differences are to some extent associated with differences in the composition of countries regarding the age, migration background, gender, and parental education of tertiary-educated workers. Moreover, we found that several of the country characteristics in our analysis appear to be significantly related to overqualification. For some groups of workers, oversupply of tertiary-educated workers and strict employment protection legislation appear to be associated with a higher risk of being overqualified, whereas adverse economic conditions and a high relative quality of higher education are associated with a lower risk of overqualification.
Period17 Mar 2021
Held atOECD
Degree of RecognitionInternational