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Qualifications mismatch and skills mismatch

Purpose- The purpose of this paper is to estimate the extent of “over‐qualification” (i.e. holding a qualification which is above that required to gain entry to the job being done) and “skills under‐utilisation” (i.e. being in a job which does not make use of the knowledge and skills possessed) in the United Kingdom and to examine whether these conditions are correlated with age. Design/methodology/approach- The paper makes use of the 2006 Skills Survey. Cross tabulations of both conditions with age are produced and binomial probit estimates of both conditions are reported. Findings- It is estimated that 38 per cent are over qualified; 15 per cent are in jobs which do not make use of the knowledge and skills they possess; and age is correlated with the probability of being over qualified but not with the condition of under‐utilising the knowledge and skills possessed. Social implications- Skills policy in the United Kingdom focuses almost exclusively upon increasing the supply of more highly qualified individuals. Given the extent of over‐qualification and skills under‐utilisation demonstrated in the paper, more effort should be made by policy makers to design and implement policies which increase the demand for highly skilled labour. Originality/value- The paper answers three questions: How prevalent are qualification mismatches? How prevalent are skills mismatches? To what extent are the two conditions of being over‐qualified and being in a job which does not offer scope to make use of the knowledge and skills possessed correlated with age?