Should We Start Worrying? Mass Higher Education, Skill demand and the Increasingly Complex Landscape of Young Graduates’ Employment

Hugo Figueiredo, Ricardo Biscaia, Vera Rocha, Pedro N. Teixeira

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    Recent decades have seen a massive expansion in higher education (HE), fuelled by high expectations about its private benefits. This has raised concerns about the impact on the employability of recent graduates and the potential mismatches between their skills and the competences required by the job structure. Equally, it could set the ground for a possible transformation of demand for graduate skills and the emergence of new employment profiles. In this article, data for Portugal for the period 2000–2010 were used to look at compositional changes in graduate employment and the incidence of three potential problems in graduates’ transition to the labour market: overeducation, overskilling and education–job mismatches. The implications of growing demand heterogeneity on increasing inequality in graduate labour markets and on the expectations supporting mass HE in a country that rapidly expanded access to tertiary education as a strategy to converge with the productivity levels of other more developed economies are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalStudies in Higher Education
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)1401-1420
    Number of pages20
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


    • Education–job mismatches
    • Higher education
    • Overeducation
    • Overskilling
    • Portugal

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