Overqualification threatens some workers according to the International Labor Organization

While there is a lack of candidates in sectors under stress, a study published by the International Labor Organization (ILO) sheds interesting light on the issue of overqualification and, more broadly, on the adequacy of skills in the workplace. ‘a part of the workers with the local labor market (“Only half of the workers in the world have a job corresponding to their level of education”, ILO, September 17, 2021).

“Over the years, considerable efforts have been invested in improving the level of education of populations around the world, introduces statistician Valentina Stoevska, author of the study. However, the huge strides made in raising education levels, especially among women and girls, have not translated into corresponding improvements in labor market outcomes ”.

Based on data collected on the profile of workers employed in more than 130 countries (France is not one of them), the study concludes that only around half of these workers have a job corresponding to their level of employment. education. In low-income countries where the informal economy remains large, the majority (69.5%) of workers are found to be underqualified for the position they occupy: because they do not always have the skills necessary, but also because learning is often done “on the job” and the acquisition of skills is less formalized by a diploma.

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In contrast, in high-income countries, the issue of overqualification arises. Thus, 20.7% of workers there occupy jobs for which they prove to be over-qualified. In Canada, the gap is massive: more than 70% of the working population can claim a high level of education, but only a little more than 40% occupy a highly qualified position. In South Korea, the country has just over 50% of highly skilled workers compared to 40% of corresponding jobs. The gap is also significant in countries as diverse as Albania, Colombia, Mongolia and Botswana, without the study providing explanations for this phenomenon.

More overqualified women

In high-income countries, the rate of “over-education” is higher for women than for men: “As a country develops, many well-educated women will find themselves in jobs below their level of education”, notes Valentina Stoevska. According to the statistician, some of these women are looking for a less qualified job than what they could claim, because it is more compatible with a family life.

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