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M. Somers, S. Cabus, W. Groot & H. Maassen van den Brink; Horizontal Mismatch between Employment and the Field of Education: Evidence from a Systematic Literature Review

Abstract This paper provides a systematic review of the growing literature on the poor match between employees’ field degree and the job requirements, also referred to as horizontal mismatch. We identify the different definitions used in the literature and find that each measure of horizontal mismatch yields substantially different incidence rates. We discuss the validity of the different measures and conclude that a more uniform definition of horizontal mismatch is needed. The likelihood of horizontal mismatch is among other things determined by the extent to which employees possess general skills as opposed to occupation specific skills, and, it appears to be more frequently present among older workers. Compared to well-matched employees, horizontally mismatched workers generally incur a wage penalty, are less satisfied with their jobs, and are more likely to regret their study programme. The ensuing findings offer guidance to prevent horizontal mismatch as well as a roadmap for future research.
Keywords: labour market; skills; horizontal mismatch; field of education
JEL: I21; J24

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