Based on a self-reported measure of overqualification, this article examines the association between overqualification and skills among workers aged 25 to 64 with a university degree, using data from the 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). This article also examines the extent to which overqualified workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. Overqualified workers are defined in this study as university-educated workers who reported that they were in a job requiring no more than a high school education.
- In 2012, about 12% of workers aged 25 to 64 with a university degree reported that they were working in a job that did not require more than a high school education (i.e., they were “overqualified”). Another 19% said that their job required a college education, while 69% said that their job required a university education.
- Among overqualified university graduates aged 25 to 64, 47% had lower literacy skills and 54% had lower numeracy skills. Having a lower skill level is defined as obtaining a level 2 or lower (out of 5) on tests administered by PIAAC.
- The factors associated with overqualification are not necessarily the same for lower-skilled and higher- skilled university graduates. Having a mother tongue other than English or French, for example, was significantly associated with overqualification for those with a lower skill level, but not for those with a higher skill level.
- Overqualified university graduates use fewer skills in the workplace. For example, they performed 25% of the information and communications technology (ICT) activities listed in PIAAC on a weekly basis, compared with 55% for those who reported that their job required a university education.
- After accounting for other factors that are related to job satisfaction, about 13% of overqualified university graduates were not satisfied with their job in 2012. This compared with 3% for those who were in a university-level position.