In recent years, the number of people graduating from higher education has increased rapidly all over the world. In most countries, however, this increase in labor supply quality has not been followed by an equal rise in labor demand, leading to a larger mismatch on the labor market for graduate students. The current turbulent state of the economy and the enduring economic crisis further disturb flexibility on the labor market. Graduates are therefore increasingly confronted with the risk of underemployment, i.e. employment which is, in some way, of inferior quality than could be expected given one’s educational level, skills or experience. Underemployment has been associated with all sorts of negative connotations, such as being inadequately employed, underutilized, overeducated, overqualified, and over-skilled.
This study examines the impact of three types of underemployment, i.e. level underemployment, content underemployment and contingent employment, on subsequent objective (i.e. salary) and subjective career success (i.e. job satisfaction) using a 10-year longitudinal dataset with 335 Dutch university graduates. Thanks to our longitudinal design, we were able to examine the impact of preceding underemployment and the speci c timing of the underemployment in one’s career, in that way explicitly addressing the role of time in career success research.
We tested our hypotheses through multilevel analyses. Level and contingent underemployment, but not content underemployment, were found to have a negative impact on future pay; whereas content employment, but not level or contingent underemployment, were found to affect job satisfaction five years later. In addition, for one type of underemployment (i.e., level underemployment), also the timing of the underemployment turned out to matter, indicating that the signal that level underemployment sends to employers may differ depending on when in one’s career it happens. Taken together, these findings point to the importance of using a path-dependency perspective when trying to understand people’s career success.
Our study shows that accepting an underemployed job is not without risks for young graduates. Indeed, underemployment in the first years after graduation may impact graduates’ salary and job satisfaction up till 10 years after graduation. Even if individuals succeed to make the transition to a more suitable job afterwards, part of the differences in wage and job satisfaction seem to sustain. It is therefore important to make graduates aware of these consequences; only then can they make careful and well-thought-through first career choices. Of course, this study does not provide a complete picture of the consequences of early career underemployment. We only looked at two consequences of underemployment, i.e. lower pay and less job satisfaction, and did not include potential positive outcomes, such as a shorter job search duration. Indeed, it is likely that there is a trade-off between the speed of finding employment and the quality of this employment (Baert et al., 2012). For graduates to make truly informed early career choices, more information is needed about this trade-off and about the longer term career paths and outcomes of opting for underemployment versus extending one’s job search to find more suitable employment.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Does early-career underemployment impact future career success?: a path dependency perspective
The literature on skill mismatch has grown significantly over the years, where skills mismatch is usually defined either in terms of excess or deficient qualifications and skills possessed by individuals relative to job‐skill requirements. Evidence from several advanced economies has shown that skill mismatch is a widespread phenomenon, typically affecting about one third of the … Continue reading
Overeducated in the EU – Taking time to ensure that the job matches your skill set has a big pay‐off
Studies of skill mismatch tend to focus on one of two central measures (a) overskilling which describes the phenomena whereby workers are unable to use a range of their skills and abilities in their current job and (b) overeducation, which describes the phenomena whereby workers have acquired a level of schooling in excess of what … Continue reading
In their paper The career prospects of overeducated Americans, (Preliminary version) @ unc.edu Brian Clark, Clément Joubert and Arnaud Maurel analyze career dynamics for the substantial share of U.S. workers who are deemed overeducated in the literature. They use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 combined with the pooled 1989-1991 waves of the … Continue reading
Credential Inflation – An increasing number of job seekers face being shut out of middle-skill, middle-class occupations by employers’ rising demand for a bachelor’s degree
An increasing number of job seekers face being shut out of middle-skill, middle-class occupations by employers’ rising demand for a bachelor’s degree. This credential inflation, or “upcredentialing” is affecting a wide range of jobs from executive assistants to construction supervisors and has serious implications both for workers not seeking a college degree and for employers … Continue reading
Tertiary-educated individuals are likely to earn twice as much as the median worker finds OECD (video)
Access to education continues to expand worldwide but the socio-economic divisions between tertiary-educated adults and the rest of society are growing. Governments must do more to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to a good education early in life, according to a new OECD report. Education at a Glance 2014 says that educational mobility has … Continue reading
Many highly educated immigrants coming to the U.S. without a job lined up have been unable to find work at their level of education, leading to considerable “brain waste,” Purdue University researchers have found. Agricultural economics professors Brigitte Waldorf and Raymond Florax were on a team of researchers who analyzed data from the U.S. Census … Continue reading
College Grads Underemployement in US – Lower for those with technically oriented and occupation-specific majors research finds
The image of a young newly minted college graduate working behind the counter of a hip coffee shop has become a hallmark of the plight of college graduates following the Great Recession. Indeed, although economic conditions steadily improved through the recovery, significant slack remained in the labor market, and many recent graduates were not finding jobs … Continue reading
As of October, 2014, the youth unemployment rate was still 12.6%, well over double the adult rate, and the youth employment rate (the proportion of the age group 15 to 24 holding any kind of a job) was 56.5%, still down a full three percentage points from 2008. The bigger issue is underemployment. Far too … Continue reading
This article reports on three forms of unemployment in the European Union (EU) which are not covered by the ILO definition of unemployment. They are: underemployed part-time workers, jobless persons seeking a job but not immediately available for work and jobless persons available for work but not seeking it. These three groups do not meet … Continue reading
EU – The rate of underemployed part-time workers was 4.1 % on the top of the 10.6% unemployment rate
This article reports on three forms of unemployment in the European Union (EU) which are not covered by the ILO definition of unemployment. They are: underemployed part-time workers, jobless persons seeking a job but not immediately available for work and jobless persons available for work but not seeking it. In 2013Q4 in the EU-28, the … Continue reading
The jobless rate of Americans ages 25 to 34 who have only completed high school grew 4.3 percentage points to 10.6 percent in 2013 from 2007, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Unemployment for those in that age group with a college degree rose 1.5 percentage points to 3.7 percent in the same period. … Continue reading
Official unemployment figures are disguising the fact that a significant number of people who are in both full time and part time work are not able to work longer hours even though they want to, a report published on Thursday suggests. According to an analysis carried out for the National Institute of Economic and Social … Continue reading
Headline figures miss important groups, such as the part-time workers who want to go full-time but can’t, or the freelancers and self-employed who are barely attracting enough work or customers to get by. Neither of these groups are out of work; but nor are they fully employed. And while they are included in some totting … Continue reading
UK / Underemployment / More than 1m people are “part-timers”, not because they want to be, but because they cannot find anything else
In the darkest days of the financial crisis economists were predicting the unemployment toll would reach 3m. Thankfully, those fears never materialised, with joblessness peaking at around 2.7m. However, the side effect of containing the jobs figures well below 3m has resulted in swathes of people working part-time or reduced hours because they cannot find … Continue reading
Youth joblessness tends to garner all the headlines, but the more troubling trend may be the more hidden one: underemployment. A paper to be released Tuesday is urging more examination of the extent of youth underemployment in Canada and more research into the causes that are driving it. “Contrary to the highly visible issue of … Continue reading
Throughout the Great Recession and the not-so-great recovery, the most commonly discussed measure of misery has been unemployment. But many middle-class and working-class people who are fortunate enough to have work are struggling as well, which is why Sherry Woods, a 59-year-old van driver from Atlanta, found herself standing in line at a jobs fair … Continue reading
Almost nine million people in the European Union were considered “underemployed” in 2011, according to new Eurostat figures. These numbers add to the growing ranks of nearly 25 million unemployed in the EU, highlighting a ticking social time-bomb. Some 42 million workers in the EU were employed part-time in 2011, according to a survey by … Continue reading
The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work. A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge. Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — … Continue reading