Job–education match and mismatch: Wage differentials

By Jennifer Yuen

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In 2006, close to 60% of postsecondary graduates 25 to 54 years of age considered their job to be closely related to their education. Less than one-quarter worked in a job that was not at all related to their education. University graduates were most likely to state that their job was closely related to their studies.

Those with a good job–education match earned higher wages on average than those with a poor job–education match. This relationship was particularly evident in highly specialized fields of study, like health and education. The wage gap between a good match and a poor match increased as the level of education increased.

The wage premium for working at a job closely related to one's education differed for men and women, as well as for college and university graduates. With factors such as demographics, education background, labour market characteristics and geography taken into account, the wage premium for a good job–education match ranged from 14% for male college graduates to over 30% for male university graduates, and from 17% for female college graduates to over 23% for female university graduates.

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