Transition from higher education to work: are master graduates increasingly over-educated for their jobs?

In this paper we address the transition from higher education to work among graduates with a master’s degree, with a particular focus on over-education. We relate to an ongoing debate on whether too many students undertake a master’s degree, and the consequences a surplus of graduates may have. Our data show that the transition from higher education to work has not become much more difficult during the period 1995–2013, despite a huge increase in the number of graduates. Unemployment rates fluctuate, but were lower at the end of the period than at the beginning. Regarding over-education, we find an increase at the beginning of the observation period, but a striking stability in years when the number of graduates rose sharply. When considering all educational groups together, we find no association between the number of graduates, business cycles and the prevalence of over-education. However, we find some exceptions when looking at different subject fields.

publication details

Title Transition from higher education to work: are master graduates increasingly over-educated for their jobs?
Category Academic article
AuthorLiv Anne Støren
AuthorJannecke Wiers-Jenssen
publication year2016
issn1358-3883