Qualification mismatch across OECD countries: over-qualified or under-skilled?

Some of the main conclusions of a working paper published in the OECD Employment Outlook 2011 « Right for the Job: over-qualified or under-skilled? » show that:

-Only about 40% of over-qualified workers report feeling mismatched based on their skills and the relationship between under-qualification and under-skilling is even weaker.

-Qualification mismatch and skill mismatch affect wages, job satisfaction and incentives to engage in on-the-job search (i.e. looking for a job while working).

-Policy intervention may be warranted to address a number of issues such as: the mis-investment in education implicit in large numbers of youth leaving school without the skills that employers require; the costs incurred by firms to sort candidates into jobs when qualifications provide bad signals for skills; and the difficulties faced by some specific groups such as job losers and immigrants.

– Policy interventions designed to reduce mismatches require the co-operation of the many different actors involved in generating jobs, imparting and acquiring skills and bringing jobs and workers together: employers, educators, individual workers, central and local governments, public employment services and the social partners.

The paper has been prepared in the context of the New Skills for New Jobs project funded by the European Commission.

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