Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Over-Education, Matching and Job Satisfaction of the Highly Educated

Readers of this blog might remember me discussing the job satisfaction of the highly educated on previous occasions: here, here and here. It is thought that the job satisfaction of individuals with high levels of human capital may be particularly sensitive to how much those individuals get to use their human capital. Recent papers from the NBER and the European Commission have shown that the degree of skills-matching between Ph.D. and subsequent employment expalins a large component of satisfaction with that employment.

"Skills-matching" has also been discussed on the blog before: here for Ph.D. graduates, and here, here and here for undergraduates. It is also possible that over-education (a separate occurence to skills-mismatch) may be another explanation for lower levels of job satisfaction. However, measures of over-education and skills-mismatch may affect job satisfaction differently depending on how individuals interpret those measures.

In light of this, researchers at Geary have been working to develop anchoring vignettes to enhance the comparability of self-reported matching and over-education amongst Irish researchers. If you want to see how these questions get developed, you can participate in this pilot-test which should take less than 5 minutes, as there are only 9 questions - split over two pages. These are questions that I am planning to work on in a Ph.D. paper.

All responses are 100% anonymous, and I disabled the surveymonkey.com option to store your IP address with your answers. I'm hoping to get 100 responses, and once I hit this target, the survey will be closed.


Liam Delaney said...

judging from the responses, your university researcher and shop worker examples are doing fine in terms of acting as boundaries without being too extreme but your school teacher is not sufficiently "in the middle" to act as a really discriminating vignette. You need to find something that is more match than a teacher and less matched than a university researcher.

Liam Delaney said...

another issue I have is with "boundary vignettes" i.e. vignettes that almost all respondents will answer in the same direction. Do they reduce the face validity of the survey? Some of our respondents so far in other tests thought we were testing their reading comprehension and, in general, while vignettes or similar methodologies are crucial for understanding the self-rated questions, they can be a headache for actual survey administration.