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Overeducation and job satisfaction: the role of job demands and control

Dieter Verhaest () and Elsy Verhofstadt

International Journal of Manpower, 2016, vol. 37, issue 3, 456-473

Abstract: Purpose - – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how job demands and control contribute to the relationship between overeducation and job satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach - – The analysis is based on data for Belgian young workers up to the age of 26. The authors execute regression analyses, with autonomy, quantitative demands and job satisfaction as dependent variables. The authors account for unobserved individual heterogeneity by means of panel-data techniques. Findings - – The results reveal a significant role of demands and control for the relationship between overeducation and job satisfaction. At career start, overeducated workers have less control than adequately educated individuals with similar skills levels, but more control than adequately educated employees doing similar work. Moreover, their control increases faster over the career than that of adequately educated workers with a similar educational background. Finally, demands have less adverse effects on satisfaction for high-skilled workers, irrespective of their match, while control moderates the negative satisfaction effect of overeducation. Research limitations/implications - – Future research should look beyond the early career and focus on other potential compensation mechanisms for overeducation. Also the role of underlying mechanisms, such as job crafting, deserves more attention. Practical implications - – The results suggest that providing more autonomy is an effective strategy to avoid job dissatisfaction among overeducated workers. Originality/value - – The study connects two areas of research, namely, that on overeducation and its consequences and that on the role of job demands and control for workers’ well-being. The results contribute to a better understanding why overeducation persists. Moreover, they are consistent with the hypothesis that employers hire overeducated workers because they require less monitoring and are more able to cope with demands, although more direct evidence on this is needed.

Keywords: Subjective well-being; Time pressure; Underemployment; Job satisfaction; Autonomy; Overqualification; Job demands-control model; Mismatch (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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