Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Article; Higher Education; Employment; Knowledge; Skill; Labour Market; Europe; Spain; Germany; Netherlands; UK; Japan.

Andino, G. (2005). More education for lower-income jobs. Revista Argentina de Sociologia, 3(4), 133-154.


Labour and income gap among those who possess different education levels has grown steadily. From the 1980's, the new productive pattern seems reluctant to absorb a work force that is not highly qualified. Traditional Fordist workers have been replaced by employees who must have more autonomy, responsibility, functional variety; a continuous labour qualification, implying an increasing education for work, as a result of their formal education, their non-formal training; the knowledge obtained during their working career. In situations of high unemployment and poverty, as in Argentina, the characteristics described face a reality where workers need to acquire more qualifications; find new employment; find young people who are looking for their first job, can't find it; or, women in precarious labour condition; with lower salaries than their male partners, even with the same job, combine their own situations with their belonging to a layer of vulnerability or social exclusion. Therefore, coming from households that suffer from structural scarcities or low incomes, or both, feel unable to gain a suitable education.
KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Employment Changes; Social Closure; Labor Market Segmentation; Argentina; Employability.

Aronowitz, S. (2004). Against schooling: Education and social class. Social Text, 22(2-79), 13-35.


After discussing the idea that the function of public education in the US is to prepare students to meet the "industrial & technological imperatives" of the modern workplace, the contemporary crisis of education - particularly in terms of the view that it is the key vehicle for achieving class mobility - is explored. Arguments that improving access to educational opportunities will help overcome class-based inequalities are challenged, suggesting that the structure of schooling itself embodies the class system of the larger society. The equation of access to schooling with greater opportunities for working-class children is refuted, as is the argument that increased enrollments in higher education signify an increase in students with better qualifications for professional or managerial jobs. Rather, it is suggested that mass higher education effectively masks unemployment & underemployment. Pierre Bourdieu's contention that "schools reinforce class relations by reinforcing rather than reducing class-based differential access to social & cultural capital" is supported. The idea of the labor & radical movements as educational sites is proposed & the working-class intellectual that emerges from these sites is characterized. The problem of academic "standards" as the primary focus of educational policy is addressed, & some suggestions for reforming schools - which today serve primarily as "credential mills" & "institutions of control" - are offered.
KEY WORDS: Educational Inequality; Education Work Relationship; Educational Reform; Schools; Social Reproduction; Social Inequality; Educational Opportunities; Educational Policy; Educational Mobility.

Barton, P. (2000). What jobs require: Literacy, education, and training, 1940 - 2006. Princeton: Educational Testing Service.


This report assembles the best information available on past and future trends in employment and the education requirements of jobs in the post-World War II period, focusing on data for 1986 and 1996 and projections to 2006. The report's first section explains what is known from the 1992 National Adult Literacy Study, which measured prose, document, and quantitative literacy of more than 26,000 adults. The discussion of the literacy levels in terms of real-life situations is background for the second section, "Literacy and Occupations." This section presents employment trends in terms of the literacy requirements of jobs and examines the most rapidly growing and declining occupations, the occupations with the highest and lowest literacy requirements, and the average for all employment for those years. Information is gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Adult Literacy Study, and the Position Analysis Questionnaire, a job analysis program that has been applied to 2,200 jobs. The third section discusses employment and training requirements of occupations. The fourth section traces trends from World War II to the present, and the fifth section explains what the analysis means in the broad context of the operations of the labor market. The final section, "The Bottom Line," shows the long-term bias toward higher literacy requirements. Appendix A shows prose, document, and quantitative literacy for 1986, 1996, and projections for 2006.
KEY WORDS: Training; Education; Work and Learning.

Batenburg, R., & De Witte, M. (2001). Underemployment in the Netherlands: How the Dutch 'poldermodel' failed to close the education-jobs gap. Employment and Society, 15(1), 75-101.


This paper describes the underemployment situation in the Netherlands between 1973 and 1995. It shows, through different methods that the "education-jobs gap" has widened increasingly. The return to credentials of Dutch employees has diminished for every educational category within the total labour population, an increasing share of employees can be considered as underemployed and deal with credential inflation. At the lower levels of education men have suffered from credential inflation more than women. At the higher levels of education it is the reverse. It also appears that young people deal with a "waiting-room effect": they enter the labour market at relatively low skill levels, given their educational level and gender. A further breakdown by educational specialisation shows that employees with an educational background in health care or technical studies have suffered relatively more from credential inflation compared to those with a commercial education. The paper concludes by stating that in spite of much rhetoric about the skill deficiencies of the current workforce, the lack of decent jobs has caused basic allocation problems at the Dutch labour market. From a human resources perspective, the growing wastage of employees' potential should not be underestimated or dismissed. It argues that an effective allocation of knowledge and skills to occupations will be the basic tenet of labour market policy and new forms of work organisation.
KEY WORDS: Underemployment; Netherlands; Labor Market; Education Work Relationship.

Belfield, C. R., & Harris, R. D. F. (2002). How well do theories of job matching explain variations in job satisfaction across education levels? Evidence for UK graduates. Applied Economics, 34(5), 535-548.


Using ordered probit estimation technique this paper examines the job satisfaction of recent UK graduates. Focussing primarily on explaining job satisfaction in terms of individuals matching to jobs, with the match depending on reservation returns, information sets and job offer rates. Only limited support can be found for the argument that job matching explains higher job satisfaction. In addition, stylizing graduates as a peer group, who form satisfaction levels based on their rankings relative to each other we examine whether or not education quality, which raises peer group status and increases the job offer rate, is systematically related to job satisfaction. The results broadly support the hypothesis that job satisfaction is neutral across graduates of different education qualities. However, our specification tests indicate that ordered probit estimation may not be fully appropriate for identifying the characteristics of those with high job satisfaction.
KEY WORDS: Labor-Market; Earnings; Unemployment; Unions; Wages; Differentials; Unhappiness; Inequality; Happiness; Income.
Belzil, C. (2001). Unemployment insurance and subsequent job duration: Job matching versus unobserved heterogeneity. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 16(5), 619-636.
This study examines the relationship between unemployment insurance benefit duration, unemployment duration and job duration. Results indicate increasing benefit duration (1.0 to 1.5 days) with unemployment duration but much smaller raise in job duration.
KEY WORDS: Unemployment; Unemployment Insurance; Benefits; Unemployment Duration; Job Duration.

Berg, I. (2001). Employment relations and work structures in the United States: From Huddersfield to "industrial democracy" and back. In I. E. Berg & A. L. Kalleberg (Eds.), Sourcebook of labor markets: Evolving structures and processes (pp. 165-186). New York: Kluwer Academic.


A number of gross contextual developments regarding employment relations & work structures in the US are examined. Macro- & microcosmic developments that have influenced both the structure & function of labor markets are considered. It is argued that though the prospects for an economic downturn have remained unconvincing, this can be attributed to the fact that the US & Western Europe have enjoyed a decade-long economic boom. Unfortunately, this boom is being undermined by the concept of "industrial democracy." Meanwhile, economists & labor market scholars have resorted to mistaking a labor market shift for actual structural change.
KEY WORDS: Labor Relations; Labor Market; Economic Change; Economic Structure; Industrial Democracy; Work Organization; United States of America.

Berg, I. (2003). Education and jobs: The great training robbery. [Unabridged republication of 1970 edition with a new introduction]. Clinton Corners, NY: Percheron Press/Elliot Werner.


This book critically examines the by now well-known economic thesis that investment in education shows a rate of return that compares favorably with other forms of capital investment. While this is true as a statistical generalisation, what this book argues is whether it should be true. The fact that most employers have been talked into rewarding more education with higher salaries does not necessarily mean that education should be so rewarded. In fact it is by now very well-known that education does little to provide many of its recipients with any skills, abilities or knowledge that are at all likely to be of any use in employment. Most employers accept that a graduate will be almost totally useless to them until the job itself has taught him what he needs to know. Why then do they pay more for useless qualifications? The honest answer of course is that they are buying what they see as prestige. Berg punctures this assertion by a whole series of studies making up the body of his book which show that in fact the employees who are actually seen as most productive and who are in fact promoted on merit generally turn out to be not the better educated ones but rather in some cases the less educated ones. Education is as often a negative predictor of a man's worth to his employer as it is a positive one. This was shown to be true for technical staff, unskilled staff and white-collar staff. It was even true of professionals. Education was quite evidently not worth the extra money it cost.

KEY WORDS: Occupations; Academic Requirements; United States; Surveys; Education; Economic Aspects; Labor Turnover; Education and Employment; Labour Economics; Employee Morale; Employees; Vocational Education.

Bevan, S., & Cowling, M. (2007). Job matching in the UK and Europe. London: The Work Foundation.


This study was commissioned by the Sector Skills Development Agency to help inform the evidence base on which its policies and activities are based. It seeks to explore how well the skills of workers meet the demands of their jobs in UK and Europe, and what factors lie behind this. This study has examined the job matching issue from two perspectives. The first is the viewpoint of employees, derived from the European Working Conditions Survey, conducted in 1996 and 2000. Second, and drawing on the authors’ empirical findings, the study conducts qualitative research in four organisations in the UK which employ some of the workers identified as most likely to experience job-skills mismatches to explore in finer detail why, and how, this occurs.
KEY WORDS: Job Matching; United Kingdom; Europe; Skills; Employees.

Billett, S. (2001). Learning throughout working life: Interdependencies at work. Studies in Continuing Education, 23(1), 19-35.


Learning throughout working life results from everyday thinking and acting, shaped by work practices. The quality of learning depends on the kinds of activities and interdependencies available. Individuals' ability to maintain vocational practice is shaped by their opportunities for engagement and interaction.
KEY WORDS: Individual Development; Interpersonal Relationship; Job Skills; Lifelong Learning; Skill Development; Work Environment.

Bills, D. B. (2003). Credentials, signals, and screens: Explaining the relationship between schooling and job assignment. Review of Educational Research, 73(4), 441-469.


The empirical relationship between educational attainment and credentials with socioeconomic attainment is well established, but why this relationship arises remains in doubt. The author of this particle discusses seven types of middle-range theories meant to explain the relationship: human capital, screening (including filtering), signaling, control, cultural capital, institutional, and credentialist theories. In each, the central causal mechanism concerns how employers and job seekers acquire. and use labor market information. The author argues that occupational status attainment and wage determination models are not adequate to explain the mechanisms underlying the process whereby the highly schooled become the highly placed in job hierarchies. He indicates the implications of transformations of the American labor market for further assessment of the relationship between educational credentials and job assignment.
KEY WORDS: Educational Screening; Employers; Job Matching; Labor Markets; Socioeconomic Attainment; Human-Capital Theory; Labor-Market; Educational Credentials; United-States; Strong Version; Hypothesis; Information; Employers; Returns; Attainment.

Borghans, L., & de Grip, A. (2000). The overeducated worker? The economics of skill utilization. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2000.


This book deals with the relation between overeducation and the business cycle. In line with the state of the art, it uses much cruder approaches to the issue than would be needed for a full assessment of the returns to specified (and possibly useless) education at the level of a single individual. However, it explores several new approximations. It has eleven essays, divided over an Introduction and three sections: Underutilization or Upgrading?, Causes and Consequences of underutilization. In the first section, Edward Wolff opens with an illuminating analysis of aggregate skill trends in the US. The second section has two theory papers and two empirical analyses. The third section, on consequences of underutilization, has three papers.
KEY WORDS: Unskilled Labor; Supply And Demand; Skilled labor; Labor Supply; Effect of Education on Underemployment.

Brkich, M., Jeffs, D., & Carless, S. A. (2002). A global self-report measure of person-job fit. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 18(1), 43-51.


This study reports the development of a short, global measure of person-job fit (P-J fit). The P-J Fit scale provides an assessment of the degree to which an individual's knowledge, skills, abilities, needs and values match job requirements. After a pilot study, the scale was tested with two samples: Sample 1 consisted of 308 professionals from three occupational groups and Sample 2 consisted of 174 adults working in call centres and related administrative areas. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the nine items assess a single, global construct of P-J fit. Construct and criterion-related validity were demonstrated by correlating the scale with empowerment, job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
KEY WORDS: Employee Characteristics; Job Characteristics; Person Environment Fit; Rating Scales; Self Report; Test Construction; Test Validity.

Brown, P., Hesketh, A., & Williams, S. (2003). Employability in a knowledge-driven economy. Journal of Education and Work, 16(2), 107-126.


Examines employability through the lenses of consensus theory and conflict theory. Expands the latter into positional conflict theory, which explains how the market for credentials is rigged and how individuals are ranked in it. Argues that even employable people may fail to find jobs because of positional competition in the knowledge-driven economy.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Economy; Education and Employment; Work and Learning.

Brynin, M. (2002). Overqualification in employment. Work, Employment and Society, 16(4), 637-654.


There is widespread evidence that many workers have higher qualifications than are needed for their job. The finding of a substantial degree of overqualification should not be the case if, as has often been argued, there has been a consistent upgrading of the skills of the labour force as a result of technological change. It might also be argued that even if overqualification exists, this is a result of a new emphasis on flexible employment & therefore increased labour-market uncertainty: people start careers at a level below the traditional start, & so are initially overqualified. In this case overqualification is only a temporary, life-course phenomenon. Evidence is presented here using BHPS & LFS data to suggest, first, that an upgrading of labour does not adequately describe recent change in employment &, second, that overqualification is not a temporary factor resulting from changed employment practices. We should therefore view overqualification as having some sort of structural causation. One tentatively given explanation is that the social demand for education is causing a bunching of qualifications at the higher levels, which means that employers cannot easily discriminate between different apparent skill levels. As a result they reduce the rewards for such skills.
KEY WORDS: Occupational Qualifications; Underemployment; Technological Change; Employment Changes; Labor Market; Education Work Relationship; Occupational Status.

Carnevale, A. P., & Desrochers, D. M. (2002). The missing middle: Aligning education and the knowledge economy. Washington, DC: Office of Vocational and Adult Education (ED).


The growing importance of education in overall economic growth and individual opportunity has necessitated that education reformers address the need for the additional and better human capital needed to foster overall growth in the new knowledge-based economy. Education reformers must also work to reduce the growing differences in family incomes by closing the gap between the nation's education-haves and education-have-nots. Addressing these challenges requires strengthening the relationship between education and work requirements and focusing more strongly on the years when academic and applied learning overlap between the completion of basic academic preparation and the completion of occupational or professional training. Although jobs requiring an associate degree are expected to grow the fastest, a sizable number of jobs will still be available for less-skilled workers. The shift in the U.S. economy's structure to a knowledge-based economy has increased the need for workers with reasoning, problem-solving, and behavioral skills; a positive cognitive style; and specific occupational and professional competencies. Although policy goals are well defined in elementary and higher education, the middle sections in the K-16 education pipeline needs revision to provide the appropriate mix of academic and applied curricula for the transition years from high school to college or high school to training and work.
KEY WORDS: Academic Education; Access to Education; Adjustment (to Environment); Articulation (Education); Cognitive Style; College Bound Students; Demand Occupations; Economic Change; Education Work Relationship; Educational Change; Educational Environment; Educational Needs; Educational Objectives; Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; Emerging Occupations; Employment Projections; Employment Qualifications; Equal Education; Human Capital; Integrated Curriculum; Labor Force Development; Labor Needs; Literature Reviews; Needs Assessment; Noncollege Bound Students; Policy Formation; Postsecondary Education; Trend Analysis; Vocational Education.

Clayton, P., & Euscher, G. (2001). Hidden treasure. Adults Learning (England), 13(1), 9-11.


Over 100 women immigrants were interviewed in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Czech Republic, and Germany. Two-thirds had participated in higher education in their home countries, one-third had degrees, some had owned businesses, and over half had good English skills. Despite their qualifications, only five were currently not underemployed.
KEY WORDS: Educational Needs; Employment Qualifications; Females; Foreign Countries; Immigrants; Underemployment.

Cline, R. R., & Mott, D. A. (2000). Job matching in pharmacy labor markets: A study in four states. Pharmaceutical Research, 17(12), 1537-1545.


Purpose. Reports from various pharmacy labor market sectors suggest that the United States may be experiencing a shortage of pharmacists. To guide policy making and planning with respect to this shortage it is necessary to develop a better understanding of the process by which pharmacists choose jobs. Using the economic theory of job matching, this study sought to understand how (a) attributes of the practice setting, (b) characteristics of pharmacists. and (c) regional and urbanization variables are associated with pharmacy practice setting choices. Methods. A secondary database containing information about employment characteristics and work histories of 541 pharmacists in four states was used. The data were augmented with information on the relative number of employment opportunities in each of three practice settings (large: chain, institutional, and independent) in the year the respondent's most recent employment change occurred. Practice setting choices were modeled using multinomial conditional logit regression. Results. A total of 477 pharmacists represented in the database met the inclusion criteria for the study. Multivariate analyses showed that the impact of search costs and wage differentials varied with the practice setting chosen. Pharmacists choosing independent settings over large chain settings were more likely to be white and to have worked in an independent setting in their prior job. Pharmacists living in Oregon were less likely to choose institutional settings compared to those living in Massachusetts, whereas those living in areas with populations greater than 50,000 were more likely to choose institutional settings. Conclusions. Pharmacist job matching appears to be a complex process in which diverse factors interact to produce a final match. Our results suggest that the: pharmacy labor market may actually be composed of two distinct labor markets: an ambulatory market and an institutional market.
KEY WORDS: Job Choice; Pharmacy Labor Markets; Discrete Choice Modeling; Turnover.

Cohen, M. S., & Zaidi, M. A. (2002). Global skill shortages. London: Edward Elgar.


This book discusses the causes and impact of global skill shortages, focusing on data from skill shortages measured in the period 1995-1998 in 19 developed and emerging economies. Chapter one contains a brief introduction. Chapter two is a review of theoretical literature on skill shortages, including static and dynamic shortages, efficiency wage theory, insider-outsider theory, labor mobility, path dependence, job vacancies, and measures of labor shortage. Chapter three discusses the forces that drive globalization and make economies interdependent, market and production globalization, and the need to look at occupational skill shortages globally. Chapter four summarizes studies on labor and skill shortages in 12 countries and Europe as a whole. Chapter five discusses in detail, the methodology of measuring skill shortages by occupation and country, the data used in the studies, and the results. Efforts are made to validate the methodology. Chapter six examines factors that can explain shortages and labor surpluses and analyzes the relationship between the shortage indicators and other indicators in the 19 countries analyzed. Chapter seven discusses how companies have coped with labor shortages. Chapter eight contains brief concluding remarks. The book also contains an appendix of data tables for all 19 countries, references for each chapter, and an index.

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