WP5: Mismatch: Skills and Education

WP LeaderESRISeamus McGuinness
WP Co-leaderMUPVladislav Flek

Critically review the mismatch in supply and demand, the reasons and drivers for the low levels of employment among young people, as well as the recruitment strategies and decisions taken by employers.

D 5.1Report The key drivers of Youth Overeducation
D 5.2Report Are student workers crowding out the low-skilled youth
D 5.3Report Recruitment methods
D 5.4Policy synthesis and integrative report
D 5.5Policy synthesis and integrative report

Work and Role of Partners

Task 5.1 – Drivers of Over-education

The objective is to apply time-series techniques to estimate the impact of a range factors on the incidence of youth over education across countries over time. Taking a set quarter for each year we extract a simple measure of youth over education and a series of covariates from each year of micro data from the EU-LFS that measure sectoral composition of employment, demand for labour at each educational level, demand / supply indicators and population structure measures. The use of time-series estimation techniques will enable us to overcome problems of reverse causality that hamper studies relying on cross-sectional data containing contemporaneous variables. The study will seek to incorporate measures such as sectoral employment structure, education specific unemployment rates, population structure, university fees, measures of educational quality, trade-union density and measures of employment protection legislation. The analysis will be based on a cross-country dataset constructed around the European Labour Force Survey and will employ time-series econometric techniques.

Task 5.2 – Transitions and labour market flows – who moves & how?

To establish the prospects of school leavers and graduates to move from inactivity to first jobs, the chances of the youth as a whole to maintain their current jobs, their exposure to the unemployment risk or to remaining unemployed using EU SILC longitudinal datasets 2004–2011, or the most up to date version at the time of analysis. We decompose aggregate youth flows to compare different transition rates. Cyclical sensitivity will be examined comparatively together with policy relevant simulations. The analysis will examine monthly flows and will provide substantial value added over existing studies which tend to be based primarily on the quarterly data, often even without any longitudinal structure.

Task 5.3 – Are student workers crowding out the low-skilled youth?

To what extent are growing number of university students replacing low-skilled workers in low-skilled jobs and has this become more pronounced since the global downturn? Using the most available LFS data at the time of analysis, we would look at age and education composition of low skilled workers (by ISCO) across time in different countries. We would supplement this by studying characteristics of “student” jobs as designated by employers themselves using data downloaded from public and private job portals.

Task 5.4 – Recruitment methods and educational provision effects on graduate over-education and over-skilling

We will assess the extent to which mismatch on labour market entry is determined by route into employment and the degree to which such relationships vary across countries. The Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society (REFLEX) data set published in 2010 contains information on university graduates from 15 European countries who completed their degree programmes in 2000/1 and were subsequently surveyed in 2005. The dataset contains information on the extent of both over-education and over-skilling in first and current employment. The Reflex data will enable an in-depth assessment of the link between mismatch in first and subsequent employment with information on the structure of degree programme delivery. Specifically, we are able to measure the balance between, for instance, formal lectures, internships, practical as opposed to theoretical knowledge, project based learning etc. The research will enable us to assess the extent to which a higher predominance towards work based or practical learning (and study related work experience) reduces the extent of mismatch and the degree to which such relationships vary across European countries.

Task 5.5 – Policy synthesis and integrative report

Each partner will provide a summary report that will feed into the Policy Briefs and integrated report. They will provide this summary report in relation to WP 3 & 4 in particular addressing issues of performance and methodology (WP3) and policy transfer and comparative frameworks (WP4); this report will address issues of ethnicity and gender mainstreaming and vulnerable youth (Task 3 WP4)