Foreign-Born workers are often overqualified

In many developed countries, a substantial chunk of Foreign-Born workers is skilled and educated beyond what is necessary for their jobs. Overqualification has become increasingly common in recent years and it tends to manifest itself in more competitive job markets.

While it can have obvious positive effects such as an employee performing at a higher level, it can result in higher salary expectations, lower satisfaction and a higher chance of an individual leaving an organization.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines the over-qualification rate as the share of the highly educated who work in a job that is classified by the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) as low or medium skilled.

OECD data shows that over one third of highly educated immigrants in employment in its member states and in the EU are overqualified for their jobs. The share of overqualified foreign-born workers does tend to differ significantly between countries and it is particularly high across much of Southern Europe where highly educated migrants have taken up low and medium-skilled jobs.

It is also highly pronounced elsewhere, however, as the following infographic illustrates:

Infographic: Statista

Greece (60.7%), Spain (53.6%) and Italy (51.7%) are prime examples of Southern European countries where the foreign-born population has a far higher overqualification rate than the native-born population where the share at 32%, 36.9% and 16.9% respectively. While South Korea has a highly overqualified native-born workforce at just under 60%, its foreign-born workforce has an even higher rate of overqualification at 74.5%. The gap is far smaller in the United States and Mexico where native and foreign-born workers are equally likely to be overqualified.


With information from Forbes and Statista

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1 Response

  1. enero 18, 2019

    […] You can also read > Foreign-Born workers are often overqualified […]

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