Économie et Statistique n° 354 - 2002 France's downturn in per capita GDP mainly reflects imperfect international comparisons - Qualifications and employability - Topography of business sectors based on inter-sector employee mobility - Household invertments in Europe
Qualifications and employability: socio-economic and wage approaches to downgrading
In addition to unemployment and involuntary part-time work, downgrading can constitute another type of underutilisation of human skills on the labour market. Downgrading is the situation of having people who are «overqualified» for the jobs they hold. It could be pos-ited that downgrading has grown among young people in recent decades due to the sharp growth in qualified manpower compared with the demand for skilled labour. Although downgrading is hard to tolerate from a human point of view, it also points to unexploited resources from an economic point of view. Measuring the extent of downgrading and assessing its growth over time nevertheless assumes that a qualifications/jobs matching standard can be set, which is a tricky undertaking to say the least. A number of complementary approaches to the down-grading of young graduates are nevertheless considered. The first is based on a statistical standard showing the match between qualifications and socio-economic group. The second is based on whether the person inter-viewed feels downgraded or not. The third is based on the relative wage value placed on these people compared with less qualified people. All these different approaches suggest that downgrading is a not-inconsiderable phe-nomenon. The economic situation plays an important role in the extent of downgrading and in the possibilities of relocating downgraded individuals. Individual factors can also be determinants. Young people unemployed for a year before finding a job are more at risk of being down-graded. The downgrading of young women is also more persistent than the downgrading of young men.