Het is voor veel landen essentieel om zoveel mogelijk hoger opgeleiden te hebben. De redenering is dan vaak dat deze flexibeler zullen kunnen omgaan met de uitdagingen van een steeds sneller evoluerende samenleving. Maar uit een nieuw onderzoek over de Britse arbeidsmarkt blijkt dat het aantal hoogopgeleiden niet gematcht wordt door jobs die aanspraak maken op deze kwaliteiten. Het gevolg volgens de onderzoeker is dat langer studeren niet meer per se meer jobtevredenheid of hoger loon oplevert. Dit fragment uit de perstekst schetst een weinig hoopgevend beeld, maar biedt wel een mogelijke oplossing:
The new, emerging graduate occupations offered inferior skills utilization, job content, job security and pay. Not surprisingly these lower quality jobs, marked out by less opportunity for skill use and job control, led to graduates with lower job satisfaction and organizational commitment. No matter what the occupation, job content was the most important factor for satisfaction, commitment and well-being.
There is now an abundance of evidence that a substantial minority of graduates start their careers in non-graduate low-skill, low-pay occupations. Employment in emerging occupations may imply a step up, but does not compare with traditional graduate roles.
“Generally, the findings challenge the equating of job quality with wages at the economic policy-making level, and the high-skills, high-wages agenda, which has been prominent in the UK,” says Okay-Somerville. “Acceptance of intermediately skilled jobs as ‘graduate occupations’ without interventions designed to make better use of graduates’ skills may result in ‘good jobs going bad’ in the graduate labor market.”
The authors say their research supports an emphasis on demand-side employer-based policies aimed at job design and work organization, and offers a picture of how graduates themselves perceive various elements of job quality. Active dialogue between employer practice and skills policies should help to create ‘good’ graduate jobs, and to make ‘bad’ graduate jobs better.
Abstract van het onderzoek:
This article examines job quality for university graduates employed in intermediately skilled (emerging) and traditional graduate occupations. Skills policies largely assume that increasing the supply of skilled labour generates sufficient demand in terms of appropriate jobs, but job quality in emerging occupations and the effects on graduates’ attitudes and well-being have yet to be established. The role of job quality (defined in terms of skills use, job content, job security and pay) was examined in a sample drawn from the 2006 UK Skills Survey. Graduates in emerging occupations reported lower use of ‘graduateness’ skills, job control, opportunities for skill use and pay. In turn, job quality explained lower job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The defining features of a ‘good’ graduate job related to intrinsic job content. The findings highlight the importance of employer practices and skills policies that better utilize and develop the highly skilled workforce.