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ILO: Only half of workers worldwide hold jobs corresponding to their level of education

Stoveska, V. September 17, 2021. Only half of workers worldwide hold jobs corresponding to their level of education. International Labour Organization. 

While there has been significant improvements to accessing and raising the level of educational attainment of people worldwide, many workers are still undereducated for the jobs they carry out, especially in low-income countries. At the same time, however,many people in highincome countries are working in jobs that require a lower level of education. 

Focusing on a worldwide scale (based on 130 countries from 2001 onwards), it is evident that 15.5 % of people are overeducated for their jobs while 36.9% are undereducated. However, it should be kept in mind that the level of educational attainment is only an approximation of the skills, knowledge and competencies possessed by an individual at the time of completion of an educational programme. It does not reflect the fact that skills and knowledge may become obsolete over time or that workers may acquire new skills outside formal education (through on-the job training, experience, self-learning, social activities or volunteering). 

Both undereducation and overeducation reflect an inadequate use of human capital and indicate high economic and social costs for workers, employers and society as a whole. To support evidence-based policymaking aimed at reducing mismatch, it is necessary to assess the extent to which the level of education of workers corresponds to the level of education required by their jobs, and also to understand the causes and consequences of both overeducation and undereducation among different population groups (such as women and men, young and older people, migrant workers). This information is vital for macroeconomic and human resources development planning and the formulation of appropriate policies. 

The full report can be found here.