Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Labor Market; Educational Attainment; Mobility; Education Work Relationship; Human Capital; Comparative Analysis; Employment Qualifications; Surveys; Work Experience; Belgium.

Kler, P. (2005). Graduate overeducation in Australia: A comparison of the mean and objective methods. Education Economics, 13(1), 47-72.


This paper studies the extent of graduate overeducation in Australia utilising both the objective and mean methods. As well, the paper tests for non-linear returns to overeducation. It is found that the rates of graduate overeducation vary by both gender and with the methods utilised, and stand between 21% and 46%. Non-linear returns to overeducation were evident among some groups of graduates. Young male graduates seem to suffer no penalty for overeducation compared with their matched peers, but this may be a reflection of technological change altering workplace requirements faster than changes in occupational titles.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; College Graduates; Economics; Educational Attainment; Education Work Relationship; Higher Education; Educational Policy; Gender Differences; Income; Occupations; Labor Market; Australia.

Kler, P. (2006). Graduate overeducation and its effects among recently arrived immigrants to Australia: A longitudinal survey. International Migration, 44(5), 93-128.


This paper investigates the incidences, determinants and returns to graduate overeducation among tertiary qualified immigrants during the early phase of their settlement in Australia. As expected, those on visas with "higher skill requirements" perform better in the labour market. The bulk of these are immigrants from English speaking backgrounds. Non-English speaking background immigrants have higher and persistent rates of overeducation. The wage returns to required and surplus education match the stylized facts of overeducation for English speaking backgrounds and other non-English speaking background immigrants. The results suggest that Non-English speaking background immigrants graduate are a heterogeneous group.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants; Asian Cultural Groups; Australia; Labor Market; Assimilation; Skills; Immigration; Wages.

Lamba, N. K. (2003). The employment experiences of Canadian refugees: Measuring the impact of human and social capital on quality of employment. La Revue Canadienne de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie/The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 40(1), 45-64.


Examining the resettlement experiences of 525 adult refugees living in Canada, this study uses a multiple regression approach to investigate the impact of human & social capital on refugees' quality of employment. Giddens's structuration theory acts as a useful interpretive framework to describe how refugee agency is constrained & enabled by the rules & resources governing the employment integration process. Results show that refugees use both family & ethnic group ties as resources in searching for employment. However, constrained by a combination of structural barriers, a significant proportion of refugees find that their human capital has little or no value in the Canadian labor market &, moreover, that the networks refugees are presently employing may not be sufficient to compensate for their downward occupational mobility.
KEY WORDS: Refugees; Canada; Human Capital; Cultural Capital; Social Networks; Employment; Labor Market; Quality of Working Life; Agency and Structure; Structuration.

Landrum, R. E., & Harrold, R. (2003). What employers want from psychology graduates. Teaching of Psychology, 30(2), 131-133.


Most undergraduate psychology majors do not opt for graduate school but attempt to enter the workforce. We surveyed employers in 3 regions of the United States to assess the importance of qualities, skills, and abilities that psychology graduates need. Results indicate that the 5 most important qualities, skills, and abilities to employers are listening skills, desire and ability to learn, willingness to learn new and important skills, getting along with others, and ability to work with others as part of a work team. Faculty members advising students may wish to emphasize the importance of these people and teamwork skills in an effort to ensure that students have a sense of what is important to employers.
KEY WORDS: Education; Educational Research; Multidisciplinary Research; Employee Skills; Employer Attitudes; Psychology; Undergraduate Education.

Larsen, C. A. (2003). Structural unemployment. An analysis of recruitment and selection mechanisms based on panel data among Danish long-term unemployed. International Journal of Social Welfare, 12(3), 170-181.


The perception of structural unemployment - summarised in the notion of 'Eurosclerosis'- became almost hegemonic during the 1990s. Policy makers all over Europe tried, by means of supply-side policies, to counteract the lack of incentives in the developed European welfare states, the lack of qualification on the post-industrial labour markets and the personal decay due to long-term unemployment. However, based on the critical case of Denmark, this article challenges the perception of structural unemployment and suggests an alternative business cycle/barrier perception. At the macro level it is difficult to explain the Danish decline in unemployment from 1994 to 2000 within the structure perception. The lack of explanatory power of the structure perception is further highlighted in micro-level analyses conducted on a panel study of long-term unemployed. Based on the unemployed's own assessments, we find no indications of supply-side problems. These results are supported by analyses of actual labour market integration of the long-term unemployed in the period between 1994 and 1999, which show that education level and previous unemployment had no noteworthy influence on labour market integration, whereas age had a decisive influence. These surprising results further undermine the perception of structural unemployment and the supply-side policies rooted in this 'mistaken' problem definition.
KEY WORDS: Labor Market; Unemployment; Unemployment Rates; Denmark; Business Cycles; Labor Policy.

Lester, B. Y., & McCain, R. A. (2001). An equity-based redefinition of underemployment and unemployment and some measurements. Review of Social Economy, 59(2), 133-159.


An attempt is made in this article to redefine underemployment & unemployment without making reference to an excess supply of labor or any causal mechanism of unemployment. Instead, underemployment & unemployment are defined in terms of equity, which draws upon the individual's preferences. A specific proposal is that underemployment be defined by the presence of contribution inequity relative to at least half the persons employed in a field that the underemployed person might prefer to move into. Empirically, most recent survey data on preferences for contingent & other nontraditional employment are used to illustrate the application of the concept. The major finding is that nearly 10 million Americans in the nontraditional workforce are underemployed.
KEY WORDS: Underemployment; Unemployment; Equity; United States of America.

Linsley, I. (2005). Causes of overeducation in the Australian labour market. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 8(2), 121-143.


A form of labour underutilization which occurs when the formal education level of a worker exceeds that which is required for the job known as overeducation. Close to 30 per cent of workers are overeducated and are underutilizing their skills in Australia. Data from the Negotiating the Life Course survey, the author determines the causes of overeducation in Australia. Four of the key theories that have been used to explain overeducation are tested: human capital, job competition, assignment and the career mobility theories. Tests show that the job competition model best explains the existence of overeducation in the labour market in Australia.
KEY WORDS: Analysis of Education; Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity (Formal Training Programs; On-the-Job Training; Job; Occupational; and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion; Australia; Education; Human Capital; Skill Development.

Livingstone, D. W. (1999). The education-jobs gap: Underemployment or economic democracy. Boulder/Toronto: Westview press/Garamond press.


Confronting conventional wisdom, this book argues that the major problem in education-work relations is not education, but work. Formal schooling, further education, and informal learning have continued to increase while the knowledgeable and skilled are increasingly underemployed. Using analysis based on Canadian and U.S. large-scale surveys of work and learning experiences, NALL - the first representative survey on underemployment, and in-depth interviews at university placement offices and food banks, the author exposes the myth of the "knowledge economy" and the limits of human capital theory. The author assesses six facets of the underemployment: the talent-use gap, structural unemployment, involuntary reduced employment, the credential gap, the performance gap, and subjective underemployment. He explains the wastage of workers' useful knowledge in terms of the conflicting forces driving current economic restructuring. Finally, he provides a critical review of basic economic alternatives (shareholder capitalism, stakeholder capitalism, and economic democracy) and gauges their prospects for overcoming the education-jobs gap.
KEY WORDS: Work; Learning; Education Work Relationships; Education-job Matching; Underemployment; Underqualification.

Livingstone, D. W. (2000). Public education at the crossroads: Confronting underemployment in a knowledge society. In D. Glenday & A. Duffy (Eds.), Canadian society surviving into the 21st century (pp. 143-167). Don Mills: Oxford University Press of Canada.


The author evaluates three alternatives to reforming education in Canada to meet contemporary needs: (1) The market-driven option would restrict entry to postsecondary education & tailor the curriculum more closely to employment prospects. (2) The knowledge economy option would encourage advanced education at increased personal expense. (3) The economic democracy option would support public education as a civil right & reform paid employment to better fit individuals' learning capabilities. The author discusses the history of Canadian education, informal learning, the myth of the knowledge economy, underemployment, life-long learning, & the popular demand for knowledge.
KEY WORDS: Educational Reform; Educational Systems; Public Schools; Educational Policy; Knowledge; Underemployment; Economic Systems; Canada; Education Work Relationship.

Livingstone, D. W., & Hart, D. J. (2005). Public attitudes towards education in Ontario 2004: The 15th OISE/UT survey. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.


The commitment of the new Liberal government to increase resources for public education does not yet appear to be sufficient in the eyes of most Ontarians,” says David Livingstone, director of the Centre for the Study of Education and Work at OISE/UT. He conducted the 15th biennial survey, Public Attitudes Towards Education in Ontario 2004, with co-author Doug Hart, at OISE/UT. “There is a widespread consensus among virtually all social groups that further funding increases are still needed.
KEY WORDS: Public Opinion; Public Education; Attitudes; Funding; Survey; Ontario.

Lloyd, C., & Payne, J. (2002). Developing a political economy of skill. Journal of Education and Work, 15(4), 365-390.


Finds little evidence of a paradigm shift in capitalism or a trend toward a high-skills knowledge economy. Points out problems in demand-side proposals. Concludes that it is necessary to recognize the centrality of conflict, power, and exploitation in capitalism and outlines a radical political economy of skill.
KEY WORDS: Capitalism; Change Agents; Foreign Countries; Job Skills; Labor Force Development; Labor Needs; Politics; Public Policy.

Loos, R. (2002). Innovations for the integration of low-skilled workers into lifelong learning and the labour market: Case studies from six European countries. Luxembourg: CEDEFOP.


This report presents innovative vocational training (VT) initiatives to improve integration of low-skilled workers into lifelong learning and the labor market. Chapter 1 describes study structure and methodology. Chapter 2 addresses the theoretical basis for observing innovations. It analyzes the definition and significance of innovation in system theory and VT; examines the practical definition of innovation and explains differences between good practice and best practice innovation; presents the innovation typology and its significance as an instrument of observation for identifying and evaluating innovations; and introduces the European Commission's definition of lifelong learning and assessment of its relevance for analyzing innovations for integrating the low-skilled. Chapter 3 analyzes innovative case studies with practical relevance for integrating low-skilled workers into lifelong learning and the labor market in these six European countries: Spain, Greece, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. Case analysis is divided into three thematic areas: program/project development and its objectives; innovative elements of the project/program; and the initiative's implementation and transfer potential. Chapter 4 summarizes the most important innovations identified and analyzes to what extent and under which circumstances transfer of these innovative practices to other EU states and candidates would be possible.
KEY WORDS: Adoption (Ideas); Adult Education; Case Studies; Definitions; Demonstration Programs; Education Work Relationship; Educational Innovation; Foreign Countries; Information Transfer; Job Skills; Job Training; Labor Force Development; Labor Market; Lifelong Learning; Postsecondary Education; Program Development; Program Implementation; Secondary Education; Semiskilled Workers; Technology Transfer; Unskilled Workers; Vocational Education.

Marzo-Navarro, M. (2007). The educational gap in higher education: The Spanish case. Journal of Education and Work, 20(2), 123-137.


The objective of the presented study is to measure the possible educational gap existing for university graduates when they access their first job as well as to establish the possible determinants of this situation. The obtained results show that a situation of overeducation exists in Spain where graduates initially take on jobs that are in a category inferior to what would correspond to their education.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Human Capital; College Graduates; Outcomes of Education; Education Work Relationship; Labor Market; Economics; Salaries; Educational Attainment; Employment Level; Spain.
Mason, G. (2002). High skills utilisation under mass higher education: Graduate employment in service industries in Britain. Journal of Education and Work, 15(4), 427-456.
In Britain, the retailing, computer services, transportation, and communications industries have hired increasing numbers of college graduates, both because of demand for skills and oversupply of graduates. This has contributed to temporary and permanent job upgrading through expansion of tasks and responsibilities in certain jobs.
KEY WORDS: College Graduates; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Job Development; Job Skills; Labor Supply; Personnel Selection; Service Occupations; Underemployment; Work and Learning.

May, C. (2000). Information society, task mobility and the end of work. Futures, 32(5), 399-416.


The emergence of global information society has led to a decline of manufacturing employment & the expansion of the service sector in the most developed economies of the global system. To replace lost manufacturing jobs, many commentators & policy makers have suggested that information & knowledge work represents the future for displaced workers, & have recommended policies to support IT skills. However, in this article, I argue that informational labor is just as amenable to task migration as manufacturing work, &, thus, policy prescriptions based on the presumption that developed states will retain most if not all knowledge work are mistaken. Some developing states such as India & the Caribbean Islands are already successfully competing against knowledge services in the OECD states. With the further development of global electronic networking informational tasks are likely to be increasingly mobile. While this will aid development outside the rich states, it will also reinforce the dynamic of income inequality & underemployment in Europe & America. Thus, the global information society represents a further challenge to the developed states' labor forces rather than their delivery from low cost manufacturing competition.
KEY WORDS: Globalization; Information Technology; Income Inequality; North and South; Labor Force; Employment Changes; Manufacturing Industries; Service Industries; Developing Countries; Industrial Societies.

Maynard, D. C., Joseph, T. A., & Maynard, A. M. (2006). Underemployment, job attitudes, and turnover intentions. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27(4), 509-536.


Survey of three different samples of employees that examined relations among various types of underemployment, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover intentions. Demonstrated that negative attitudes toward job were only found when employees expressed a preference for full-time work. A similar trend was not found for temporary workers.
KEY WORDS: Job Satisfaction; Turnover; Organizational Commitment; Rating Scales; Male; Female; Underemployment; Job Attitudes; Scale of Perceived Overqualification; Job Descriptive Index.

McBride-King J. et al. (2000). What to do before the well runs dry: Managing scarce skills. Ottawa: Conference board of Canada.


Today's organizations face a rapidly changing business and labour environment. A particular concern is the difficulty experienced in recruiting and retaining the skills needed to compete in the global marketplace. This report notes that effectively managing the scarce skills problem depends on more than the best efforts of individual organizations. It also requires the integrated efforts of many stakeholder groups including the education system and government. This study identified actions that were statistically significant predictors of recruitment and retention success.
KEY WORDS: Skills; Changes; Business; Labour Market; Recruitment; Global Marketplace; Scarce Skills; Education System; Canada.

McGuinness, S., & Bennett, J. (2007). Overeducation in the graduate labour market: A quantile regression approach. Economics of Education Review, 26(5), 521-531.


This paper exploits the homogeneity of data from a cohort of Northern Ireland graduates to explore the extent to which both the incidence and impacts of overeducation are specific to individuals of particular ability levels as proxied by their position within the graduate wage distribution. It was found that whilst the incidence of overeducation was heavily concentrated within low-ability segments of both the male and female graduate wage distributions, it was by no means exclusive to them. Using regression techniques it was found that, relative to their well-matched counterparts, low-and mid-ability overeducated male graduates earned substantially less. However, the impacts of overeducation were found to be much more pervasive and constant throughout the entirety of the female ability (wage) distribution. The results provide only partial support for the hypothesis linking overeducation with lower levels of ability.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Labor Market; Ability; Gender Differences; Educational Attainment; Outcomes of Education; Salary Wage Differentials; Hypothesis Testing; Statistics; Northern Ireland.

Mills, V. (2002). Employability, globalization and lifelong learning - A Scottish perspective. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 21(4), 347-356.


The ideological transformation of the Labour Party to New Labour has resulted in supply-side approaches to lifelong learning that are not succeeding in Scotland's low-wage, low-skill economy. Despite the rhetoric, acquiring job skills does not automatically result in employability, without government intervention.
KEY WORDS: Employment Potential; Foreign Countries; Government Role; Ideology; Job Development; Job Skills; Lifelong Learning.

Munro, A., & Rainbird, H. (2002). Job change and workplace learning in the public sector: The significance of new technology for unskilled work. New Technology, Work and Employment, 17(3), 224-235.


Interviews (n=350) and a survey (n=323) of managers, trainers, and union representatives in British health care agencies showed that technology caused some job enlargement and enrichment; positive or negative effects depended on context. Other jobs were deskilled due to work organization, not technology. Technology's impact on job change was diversified and complex.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Job Development; Job Skills; Public Sector; Technological Advancement; Unskilled Workers.

Nabi, G. R. (2003). Graduate employment and underemployment: Opportunity for skill use and career experiences amongst recent business graduates. Education & Training, 45(7), 371-382.


Graduate underemployment continues to be a serious and growing problem in the UK. Yet, there is a scarcity of research that has attempted to identify the nature, extent and specificity of the problem. This study examines the opportunity for skill use (skill requirements of the job, personal skill levels, congruence between these two measures) and intrinsic (job, career, life satisfaction) and extrinsic career success (salary, promotion) amongst underemployed graduates. Appropriately employed graduates (those who were in jobs for which they required their degree) were used as a comparison group. Questionnaire data were collected from 203 business graduates in the UK. The key findings suggested that underemployed graduates reported significantly lower levels of opportunity for skill use and intrinsic (job, career, life satisfaction) and extrinsic career success (salary). The implications of these findings and avenues for further research are discussed.
KEY WORDS: Graduates; Underemployment; Ability; Business Students; Career Development; Employment Status; Graduate Students; Life Satisfaction; Personnel Promotion; Salaries.

Ono, H. (2001). Temporary employment and the spot market: Reflections from a qualitative study. Michigan Sociological Review, 15, 93-123.


In recent years, the growth rate of temporary employment has far surpassed the growth rate of aggregate nonfarm employment. Market uncertainty, such as the rapid pace of technological change, has given rise to a practice wherein employers hesitate to hire workers into their core workforce, & rely increasingly on contingent labor. The result is a "just-in-time" practice of human labor, with employers purchasing skills on an as-needed basis. While previous studies have focused on either the supply- or the demand-side factors behind temporary employment growth, this paper focuses on the actual temp-employer matching process that takes place within temporary staffing firms. Based on interview results from managers & executives in temporary staffing firms in the US, I argue that the explosive growth of temporary employment can be attributed to its spot market features, which allow employers to adjust freely to market changes while minimizing transaction costs.
KEY WORDS: Part Time Employment; Underemployment; Labor Market; Labor Supply; Technological Change; Modern Society; United States of America; Employment Changes.

Oosterbeek, H. (2000). Introduction to special issue on overschooling. Economics of Education Review, 19(2), 129-130.


This special issue was inspired by Greg Duncan and Saul Hoffman's 1981 article on the "incidence and wage effects of overeducation." These researchers used a Mincer earnings equation to determine that a substantial number of American workers were over- or under-educated for their chosen occupations.
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