A skill mismatch for migrant workers? Evidence from WageIndicator survey data

Kea Tijdens and Maarten van Klaveren contributed a chapter “A skill mismatch for migrant workers? Evidence from WageIndicator survey data” to the book “EU Labour Migration in Troubled Times — Skills Mismatch, Return and Poilcy Research”, edited by Bela Galgóczi, Janine Leschke and Andrew Watt (all at ETUI, European Trade Union Institute) and just published by Ashgate Publishing (www.ashgate.com).

Overeducation occurs more often for migrants compared to domestic workers, and it occurs more often in the EU15 compared to the EU12. Thus, the characteristics of both migrants and national labour markets influence the incidence of overeducation. Using data for European countries from the global WageIndicator web-survey on work and wages, theoretically based assumptions were tested for explanations why migrants are more prone to be overqualified. A lack of transparency of credentials – here defined arriving in the host country at an adult age – increases the incidence of overeducation. Employer discrimination is assumed to increase the incidence of overeducation. Indeed, first and second generation migrants and ethnic minorities are prone to labour market discrimination and this in turn increases the likelihood of overqualification. Finally, it is hypothesized that migrant workers with poorer language abilities – here defined as migrant workers born in a country with a native language or a lingua franca that does not match that of the host country – are more likely to report overeducation. This assumption is not supported by our results.

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