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Are you overqualified?

10 November, 2014

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Date of Publication: 10 November, 2014
An ILO (International Labour Organization) study shows a widening gap between the skills required by companies and those offered by workers. A mismatch in skills could potentially hinder the recovery of the economy and greatly reduce opportunities, especially for young people.

Education and companies move along side by side on two parallel lines that are forever struggling to meet.This has been shown in a recent survey conducted by the ILO, which analyzed the skill mismatch between demand and supply of labour in 24 European countries.

According to the studies, between 25% and 45% of workers are under or over-qualified for the type of work done, but the most interesting fact is the growth of overqualified workers who, in some countries, now total up to 20% of the labor force.

This figure shows the effects of the global economic crisis.

What is the identikit of the overqualified worker?

According to the ILO, he or she is a young graduate, even with a master’s degree, but lacking in the specific skills required by companies to do the job. Tasks may even be simpler than his or her studies, but still require some experience nonetheless.

"Providing workers with skills is not sufficient to improve their labour market outcomes if these skills not match those demanded by their employers", commented Theo Sparreboom, author of the survey.

Negative consequences for the economy.

Studies show that overqualified workers are less satisfied with their job, which in turn is likely to affect productivity, and they are more likely to engage in job search activities and, therefore, add to staff turnover. At the macroeconomic level, mismatching skills may raise unemployment rates, reduce labour market flexibility and reduce output and productivity growth.

How can things be put right?

“The study calls on governments and the social partners to put in place efficient job placement services and training opportunities, and to strengthen links between education and training systems and the world of work”, continues Theo Sparreboom, calling upon institutions to take firm action to redress the labor market, an action also needed to encourage those small signs of recovery that the economy is currently experiencing.

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