Occupation–education mismatch of immigrant women in Europe

Mehtap Akgüç, Jaai Parasnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Against the background of continuing gains in female education and labour market participation and rising migration, we investigate whether women work in occupations which match their educational qualifications and whether migrant women face double penalty in being overqualified for their jobs. Using the data from the European Social Survey covering 2002–2020 with detailed information about occupation and educational attainment, we show that migrant women are significantly more likely to be overqualified in their jobs relative to native women. We explore the role of individual, institutional and workplace factors, as well as attitudes, to explain the overeducation of foreign-born women compared to native-born women. While parental education, workplace and destination country characteristics are all important factors in women’s overqualification, they do not explain the immigrant women’s disadvantage. The overqualification of migrant women is particularly notable amongst low and medium skill groups and in middle income households. These results inform the policy efforts to mitigate the skills waste of migrant women by documenting the gaps, identifying the target groups and suggesting potential channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-98
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Education-occupation mismatch
  • Gender
  • Immigrant-native gap
  • Over-education

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