Many people enter occupations that require about the same level of education as they have, but some people enter occupations where their level of education exceeds the required level. Are these overeducated workers less happy with their work than other workers? We sought to answer this question in our recent paper.
Since the 1950’s, social scientists have voiced concerns about overeducation, and the recent trend of bifurcation in the labor market (i.e., jobs coming to require either very high skills or very low skills) has intensified these concerns. For the country as a whole, the presence of overeducated workers in the labor market indicates underutilization of worker skills, which in turn limits the country’s ability to achieve its economic potential.
For individual workers, overeducation may lower earnings and increase health problems. Overeducation may also lower work satisfaction.