Job Satisfaction of Recent University Graduates in Economics Sciences: The Role of the Match Between Formal Education and Job Requirements

Abstract

This paper aims to analyse the job satisfaction of recent graduates that finished their studies at the Facultad de Ciencias Económicas of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Using a database specially designed for this project, we first look at the relationship between overall job satisfaction and its subdomains. Second, we inquiry on the relationships of overall job satisfaction and some of its subdomain with the degree of matching between the graduate’s education and skills with those required by his/her job, controlling by a set of variables related with individual characteristics, relationship statuses, personality traits, household context, human capital background, occupational context, institutional background, and job status. Finally, we look at the recent graduates’ job satisfaction by differentiating specific subgroups: by gender and matched/mismatched job statuses. The evidence shows that eight subdomains are positively associated with overall job satisfaction; they are satisfaction with pay, fringe benefits, general work environment, relationship with supervisors, intellectual challenge, job responsibilities, the possibility of professional development, and working hours. Additionally, the econometric analysis shows that overall job satisfaction and its subdomains are affected differently by individual characteristics, social and economic context, personality traits, occupational context, job status, among others. Importantly, a better match between formal education and job requirements impact positively on job satisfaction and its subdomains. These results give support to the approach of splitting overall job satisfaction into different dimensions to identify the sources of the values of job satisfaction differences.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In that case, one would expect compensating wage differentials.

  2. 2.

    As authors remark, any job characteristics that influence job satisfaction may offset, or reinforce, the effect of over-qualification; therefore, it is necessary to condition the analysis on the characteristics of the job.

  3. 3.

    Some studies evidence a strong negative relationship between job satisfaction and a comparison income, which is measured in different manners. For example, Clark (1996) analyses the job satisfaction of a person, conditional on own wage, to the wages of their partners and the average wage of other household members. Kifle (2014) analyses the case of Australian workers finding that both own wages and comparison wages have an impact on overall job satisfaction. However, the way the comparison group is constructed also matters, when the comparison wage is constructed using the ranked position of an individual’s wage in each cell, the effect of comparison wages on job satisfaction is almost equal to that of own wages. For the case of Chile, Montero and Vásquez (2015) find an important impact of comparison wages on job satisfaction, with a 10% increase in the reference group wage requiring be compensated for by a 24.9% increase in the own wage to provide the same level of job satisfaction.

  4. 4.

    See Clark et al. (1996) for other alternative explanations.

  5. 5.

    An important number of students come from the provinces of Catamarca, La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy. Historically, the UNC has been the destiny of students coming from neighboring countries, especially Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. Recently there has been an important influx of students from Venezuela.

  6. 6.

    Alternative procedures would be to use a systematic evaluation of the characteristics of each job, usually referred as “objective measure” of overeducation, and the so-called “empirical method”, in which a person is compared to a group of his/her peers using the mean or modal values of formal education, usually measured in years, as point of reference.

  7. 7.

    Following the suggestion of an anonymous referee, we also estimated all equations with a lineal panel data model, either with fixed or random effects. It is important to note that, as pointed out by García‑Mainar and Montuenga‑Gómez (2020), the use of a lineal model assumes cardinality, which is more restrictive than the assumption of ordinality associated to ordered probit/logit models. Regardless the magnitude of the coefficients of the lineal models are not directly comparable with the ones from the non-lineal ordered Probit, the results are in line with Ferrer-i-Carbonell and Frijters (2004), who reports that assuming either ordinality or cardinality of happiness scores has little effect on the qualitative empirical results, whilst allowing for fixed-effects can have an impact. In our case, the results from the lineal models are very similar to the ones presented below, in terms of coefficients’ signs and statistical significance.

  8. 8.

    It is interesting to note that in another study we find that having working experience, and not necessarily in areas related to the field of study, has a positive effect on income, and helps to reduce the negative impact of being overeducated.

  9. 9.

    As Sect. 2 describes, these results are common in the related literature. Remarkable, Álvarez and Sinde-Cantorna (2014) explain that is not self-employment by itself what drives job satisfaction, but the greater work autonomy and flexibility attached to that status. They highlight the importance of including variables that measure flexibility and autonomy in the job when dealing with the estimation of the effect of self-employment on job satisfaction, since once these variables are taken into account the usual positive effect of self-employment on job satisfaction might disappear, and even it becomes negative.

  10. 10.

    Robst and Van Gilder (2016) compare the effects of a mismatch in terms of the major chosen by the graduates. They find out that a mismatch has a smaller effect on some aspects of job satisfaction for economics graduates compared to business graduates.

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Acknowledgements

This research was financially supported by FONCyT (PICT 2015-1771) and SeCyT-UNC (Projects 2016-2018: 05/E406 and 05/E424). All responsibility rests solely with the authors.

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Correspondence to Pedro Esteban Moncarz.

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De Santis, M., Florensa, M., Gáname, M.C. et al. Job Satisfaction of Recent University Graduates in Economics Sciences: The Role of the Match Between Formal Education and Job Requirements. J Happiness Stud (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-021-00360-x

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Keywords

  • Job satisfaction
  • Subdomains
  • Economic sciences graduates
  • Education-job match
  • Universidad Nacional de Córdoba

JEL Classification

  • I23
  • I31
  • J44