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An analysis of skill mismatch using direct measures of skills

Desjardins, R., & Rubenson, K. An analysis of skill mismatch using direct measures of skills. OECD Publishing, Paris, 2011. Pages: 88.

Published by the OECD Directorate for Education as part of the OECD Education Working Papers series, this study takes stock of what is known about skill mismatch. While the concept of education mismatch has so far attracted more attention from researchers, this new publication provides insight from the perspective of labour markets. Specifically, it explores the causes, the extent and the socio-demographic make-up of skill mismatch. It also examines the impact of skills mismatch on earnings potential as well as the implications of the phenomenon for employer sponsored adult education and training. The analysis is based on the OECD’s 2003-2007 Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALLS).

This study looks into various aspects of mismatch (e.g. vertical and horizontal mismatch) and investigates two dimensions of the labour market — supply and demand — and their roles in fostering skills mismatch. Thus, from the angle of supply, mismatch tends to be attributed to the inadequacies of education and training systems, which are expected to be more responsive to needs of the labour market, while from the viewpoint of demand, inadequacies of labour market practices and of employers are at the heart of the problem.